ONE BAG, ONE STORY
THE BAG : FOSSA DELLE FELCI
Comfortable , easy, unconventional… Born to be free.
Handmade by Silent People
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Grunge shades and total black for Fossa delle Felci, the new original creation of Silent People. The Fossa delle Felci ( Pit of ferns) bag is made of distressed vintage World War II leather, and it does not disprove the ideology that characterizes the production and design of Silent People handmade handbags. A rock soul, a strong character and a strong personality for the city woman, who likes to move quickly conveying her practical, combative style in the everyday life accessories she chooses to wear. The worn look of the bag Fossa delle Felci is therefore a powerful means of expression through which the self-made woman tells the world about her own personality.
The woman who chooses a purse made of leather dating back to the 40s/50s is a woman who struggles daily to gain and maintain a social position achieved thanks to her stubbornness and resourcefulness… just like Moll Flanders, the heroine who gives the title to the novel by Daniel Defoe.
THE CHARACTER : MOLL FLANDERS
I was now about ten years old, and began to look a little womanish, for I was mighty grave and humble, very mannerly, and as I had often heard the ladies say I was pretty, and would be a very handsome woman, so you may be sure that hearing them say so made me not a little proud…
Here I continued till I was between seventeen and eighteen years old, and here I had all the advantages for my education that could be imagined; the lady had masters home to the house to teach her daughters to dance, and to speak French, and to write, and other to teach them music; and I was always
with them, I learned as fast as they; and though the masters were not appointed to teach me, yet I learned by imitation and inquiry all that they learned by instruction and direction; so that, in short, I learned to dance and speak French as well as any of them, and to sing much better, for I had a better voice than any of them.
Moll Flanders was born in Newgate, the main London prison of the eighteenth century, the daughter of a woman convicted for theft and about to be deported to Virginia. At the age of six months she is abandoned by her mother and is brought up in the house of the mayor of Colchester, a town in Essex, not far from London.
She is a poor but pretty and clever girl who strives to make a way for herself in a difficult world ruled by men. She is an independent woman, usually more intelligent and resolute than the men she is in love with. Her attitude is extremely practical and realistic, also a bit cynical. She could be considered selfish, but we should remember that she is trying to survive in a difficult and hostile world. Moll exemplifies a new kind of self-made woman who wants to be able to work for herself, who voices both a frustration with social codes and a desire to be one’s own person at all costs. Though a servant girl is virtually the only legitimate career open to her, she has wanted, from childhood on, to be a “ gentlewoman”.
“I had a thorough aversion to going to service, as they called it (that is, to be a servant), though I was so young; and I told my nurse, as we called her, that I believed I could get my living without going to service, if she pleased to let me; for she had taught me to work with my needle, and spin worsted, which is the chief trade of that city, and I told her that if she would keep me, I would work for her, and I would work very hard.”
To Moll Flanders being a gentlewoman simply meant to be able to work for herself, and get enough to keep her without “that terrible bugbear going to service”.In the modern sense Defoe’s heroine is a woman who wants to earn a living for herself and her triumphs are those of cunning and creativity : no longer young she perfectly knows how to exploit the limited resources available to her as she walks the city in order to seize the best opportunities for successful thieving. In fact, forced by necessity she becomes a successful pickpocket and thief, even if her goal is essentially the pleasure of self-assertion. Moll combines pleasure with profit and understands that virtue and vice are not moral absolutes but products of the “ force of conjunctures”, that our lives depend too much on our circumstances. Her great strength is that she lives in the present and is able to fully capitalize on it without losing her capacity to understand the inner workings of this phase of human history concerning herself as a woman.
THE STORY : The Fortunes and Misfortunes of the famous Moll Flanders
But my case was indeed deplorable, for I was left perfectly friendless and helpless, and the loss my husband had sustained had reduced his circumstances so low, that though indeed I was not in debt, yet I could easily foresee that what was left would not support me long; that while it wasted daily for subsistence, I had not way to increase it one shilling, so that it would be soon all spent, and then I saw nothing before me but the utmost distress.. and the prospect of my own starving, which grew every day more frightful to me, hardened my heart by degrees.
The Fortunes and Misfortunes of the famous Moll Flanders tells the story of the title character, a poor but pretty and clever girl who grows up refined and good-looking and at the age of fourteen is taken to live by a wealthy family in Colchester. At the age of seventeen she is seduced by the eldest son of the family but she eventually decides to marry the younger brother who is in love with her. After five years he dies and their three children are cared by their paternal grandparents. Moll now looks for another husband because at the time, the 18th century, women could be considered respectable only if they got married. However she enters into disastrous marriages and on a journey to Virginia with her third husband, he meets his mother, whom Moll find out is her own mother, too. So she decides to leave him and return to England alone. There she becomes the mistress of a married man. They stay together for six years but when the man falls ill he undergoes a religious conversion and decides to give her up.
After her fifth husband’s death Moll tries to live for two years on what she inherited from him but then, reduced to poverty, she resorts to pickpocketing and petty theft in order to survive.
Necessity, poverty, distress, lack of husband and lack of protection lead Moll Flanders to become strongly individualist and to develop a deep sense of the value of money. She considers life as a struggle between herself and the rest of the world. Her life becomes a constant struggle, and her simple survival is the result of luck and her own efforts. She has to depend totally on her intellect and judgment, and deal with each emergency at its birth by a moral practice that she has forged by herself. Moll Flanders is an independent woman who begins falling in love passionately, although unfortunate. But she is also a woman of good sense in a spirit that likes to face the storm. She is smart, practical but not heartless, in fact, on her first sinful action Moll feels extremely anxious, even mad. She is horrified by what she is doing : “Lord, what am I now? a thief!” then she spends a tormented night thinking ‘it may be some poor widow like me, that had packed up these goods to go and sell them for a little bread for herself and a poor child, and are now starving and breaking their hearts for want of that little they would have fetched.”
However the crucial turning point in Moll’s life occurs when she steals a young girl’s golden necklace. “ poverty, as I have said, hardened my heart, and my own necessities made me regardless of anything. The last affair left no great concern upon me, for as I did the poor child no harm, I only said to myself, I had given the parents a just reproof for their negligence in leaving the poor little lamb to come home by itself, and it would teach them to take more care of it another time.”
Moll is eventually caught and imprisoned in Newgate where she meets her fourth and favourite husband. She turns to religion and becomes truly repentant so that her death sentence is commuted to one of transportation to Virginia where she finds that she has inherited a sot weed plantation from her mother. Moll and her husband’s estates do well and they become rich. At the age of seventy they return to England in a state of wealth and repentance.
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