These different spheres of value—spiritual, familial, and commercial—are also used to define the various communities of the novel—the East; upper-class, provincial English; and modern, urban English, respectively.

The Unwelcome Return of the Past

The preface to The Moonstone alerts us to the fact that the diamond carries with it a menacing history that can arise and infect the present with bad luck. Thus contemporary English society must pay for crimes committed (by extension) by imperial England. This threatened return of an evil, or shameful past (in this case, John Herncastle's violent conduct), is a theme that defines many of the characters of the novel, as well as the diamond itself. Ezra Jennings, in Chapter IX of the Third Narrative in the Second Period, says, "Perhaps we should all be happier, if we could but completely forget!" He is speaking explicitly of Mr. Candy, but he is also referring to his own shameful past, which arises again and again in the present via painful gossip. Rosanna Spearman, too, finds she cannot escape her painful past, when she is immediately suspected of having stolen the Moonstone because of her history of being a thief.

The Moonstone seems to advocate a straightforward interaction with one's past as the surest way of escaping the haunting of that past. Thus, once Franklin Blake lives through his past again in the recreation of the night of the diamond theft, he becomes completely free from the shameful implications of that past.