Themes are nothing more than topics raised by the text, so they are easy to list, but hard to separate from each other. For example, Defoe’s novels are obviously concerned with society and gender, but can we discuss the one without the other? Look back at Moll’s rejection by her first lover: how far is their relationship determined by their different social status and birth and how far by gender? The answer, of course, is that the narrative involves both issues and neither can be ignored. We should therefore remember that ‘themes’, as headings, are only a matter of convenience: topics selected by us rather than by Defoe.
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