Study Guide

Clarissa - Letters 37-45 dated March 19th through March 22nd Summary & Analysis

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Letters 37-45 dated March 19th through March 22nd Summary

Miss Howe teases Clarissa that she praises and defends Mr. Lovelace so much that she is harboring and concealing a growing love for him. Miss Howe agrees that it appears likely that Clarissa will be forced to choose between Mr. Lovelace and Mr. Solmes, and while Mr. Lovelace is the better of the two, Miss Howe prefers any of Clarissa's former suitors to either of the current two. Clarissa defends herself saying that she does not love Mr. Lovelace and only intends him justice in her praise. Clarissa admits to Miss Howe "that were [Mr. Lovelace] now but a moral man, I would prefer him to all the men I ever saw," but resents Miss Howe's teasing. Betty has told Clarissa that Mr. Solmes is now sure of her and has decided to try kindness for several weeks before terrifying her into submission after marriage.

Mrs. Norton visits Harlowe Place to convince Clarissa to marry Mr. Solmes, but Clarissa tells her that she would rather die. Clarissa's petition to live a single life is denied again, and she is forbidden to correspond with Mrs. Norton for one month. Mrs. Harlowe writes Clarissa to acquaint her with Mr. Solmes' generous settlements and give her one last opportunity to comply with the Harlowes' will. Clarissa's requests to see her mother alone, which angers her father, and he sends her a note telling her she will be married within a week and will be sent to Uncle Antony's house early in the week to rid her family of her presence. He tells her that as Mrs. Solmes, she may receive forgiveness, but never as their daughter. Mr. Harlowe becomes even more enraged when Mr. Solmes seeks an interview with Clarissa, and she denies him.

Clarissa's cousin, Dolly, writes Clarissa to tell her that Arabella and James have requested that they be placed in charge of Clarissa. It appears that their request has been granted when Arabella enters Clarissa's chambers to criticize and insult her, saying that she bewitches everyone to have her way. Clarissa writes James with offers to renounce her inheritance or become James' maid in Scotland to avoid marrying Mr. Solmes. Her family considers her offers but rejects them. Clarissa and Arabella argue fiercely, and Clarissa desires to throw herself at her parents' feet. Arabella sits in a corner insulting Clarissa while Aunt Hervey attempts to persuade Clarissa to accept Mr. Solmes, but Clarissa refuses. Aunt Hervey asks Mr. Harlowe to allow his wife to see Clarissa to no avail. When Arabella continues to taunt her sister, Clarissa alludes to Arabella's love for Mr. Lovelace, infuriating Arabella. James has declared that if Clarissa does not marry Mr. Solmes, he will go to Scotland and never return to Harlowe Place.

Letters 37-45 dated March 19th through March 22nd Analysis

Clarissa's preferment of Mr. Lovelace, morals excepted, foreshadows their future elopement and relationship. Her acknowledgment of his lack of morals shows a character trait in contrast to those she usually exhibits, but appears to be extracted by her unhappy situation. Clarissa's obstinacy is emphasized through her refusal to yield to the supplications by her mentor and her aunt. A crisis is approaching with Mr. Harlowe setting a date for the wedding. The scenes between Clarissa and Arabella are very repetitive, as well as all scenes where Clarissa appeals to her family with negotiations: every attempt is denied.

This section contains 570 words
(approx. 2 pages at 400 words per page)
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