Essay Literary Criticism of Daniel Defoe's Novel, Roxana

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Literary Criticism of Daniel Defoe's Novel, Roxana Most critics agree that Daniel Defoe's novel, Roxana, is his darkest work. Author Malinda Snow, who wrote "Arguments to the self in Defoe's Roxana," quotes author David Blewett saying that "Roxana is Defoe's only protagonist who is passive in the face of disaster" (Snow, 1).

Roxana is portrayed as a significant character who is "intensely self-aware, she reasons with herself, judges herself, and ultimately cannot forgive herself' (Snow, l). One of the reasons the novel has such a serious mood and tone is because Roxana seems to constantly be arguing with herself. However, her arguments consist of two parts. Usually she narrates in the "narrative present-- a fixed point in time-- [and
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On the other hand, Roxana displays a "polyvocal rhetorical structure" which Moll lacks (Snow, 3). Roxana is a character whose actions as well as thoughts the reader gets to witness and judge. This kind of rhetoric is one of the main reasons for the aforementioned somber mood of the novel. While Roxana is arguing with herself throughout the novel (not only once but twice), she prevents the work from having a "conventional moral/ rhetorical closure.. . [and] effectively prevents the kind of repentance attained by Defoe's other narrators," such as Moll Flanders (Snow, 3).

Snow observes and explains one of Aristotle's principles, that plays a role throughout the work. It states that "argument provides a means to examine the past, present, or the future" (Snow, 2). This principle relates to Defoe's Roxana by stating that "not only is the internal debate possible, it is central to the novelistic portrayal of human experience" (Snow, 3). Snow also points out a significant observation about Roxana's standing in the community. Since her arguments are private (only to the readers), instead of public (as Aristotle's would have been), it speaks of the views of women in eighteenth century society. Because she is a woman, Roxana is not allowed to have a public stand on topics and is prohibited from speaking of 'significant' affairs. However, the kind of arguments and speech Roxana involves herself with stimulate, change and develop the character throughout the

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