Study Guide

Clarissa - Letters 81-88 dated April 6th through April 8th Summary & Analysis

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Letters 81-88 dated April 6th through April 8th Summary

Miss Howe is furious when her mother denies Clarissa protection and threatens to avenge her destroyed hopes against Mr. Hickman. Clarissa is disappointed but defends Mrs. Howe's viewpoint as just. Miss Howe suggests that Clarissa accept the offer for protection from Mr. Lovelace's family, run away and marry Mr. Lovelace or encourage Mr. Solmes until Colonel Morden arrives to help. Clarissa fears putting herself under the protection of Mr. Lovelace's family because of the power and influence he would have over her in such a situation, and she absolutely refuses to marry him because she will never be able to anticipate a reconciliation with her family if she took such a drastic measure. She is unwilling to encourage Mr. Solmes as well. Miss Howe suggests that she accompany Clarissa to London, where they can live privately until Colonel Morden's return, but Clarissa refuses to implicate Miss Howe in her removal from Harlowe Place and to bring such sorrow on Mrs. Howe. Clarissa considers removing to London on her own but is deterred because she does not know anyone there, has no transportation and fears Mr. Lovelace will plague her more than ever without her parents' protection. She wishes that Miss Howe were married and could offer her asylum.

Clarissa is not being sent to Uncle Antony's house because the Harlowes fear Mr. Lovelace's threats against them; however, they insist that Clarissa will be forced to marry Mr. Solmes next week. Clarissa is told she will be admitted into the presence of her family if she willingly marries Mr. Solmes. Clarissa becomes ill, and she exaggerates her symptoms in hopes of delaying the ceremony. Her family is indifferent to her illness and insists she will marry Mr. Solmes Wednesday morning regardless of her health. They attempt to comfort her by telling her that she will live at home, receiving daily visits from Mr. Solmes, until she is reconciled to her marriage. The Harlowes are convinced that Clarissa still corresponds with Mr. Lovelace due to his intimate knowledge of the events that pass behind closed doors, and their suspicions are reaffirmed when Betty sees ink on Clarissa's finger.

Clarissa requests Mr. Lovelace to procure her the protection of his aunts, although she is unsure of accepting it, assuming that she can use the transportation to escape to London if she changes her mind. When she dreams that James, Uncle Antony and Mr. Solmes conspire against Mr. Lovelace, and Mr. Lovelace kills Clarissa, she fears that she made a mistake asking for his aunts' protection. Although Clarissa tells Mr. Lovelace that accepting his family's protection does not ensure that she will marry him, he seems rather sure to the contrary. He makes several suggestions concerning means for her escape, promising to act according to her desires because of his intense love for her. Clarissa agrees to procure lodging in Lady Betty Lawrence's neighborhood and to send for Hannah to attend her. She refuses all visits from Mr. Lovelace but will continue sending and receiving letters. Her letter is removed nearly immediately, and Clarissa praises Mr. Lovelace's diligence. Mr. Lovelace agrees to all Clarissa's conditions for accepting Lady Betty's protection. When Miss Howe hears of Clarissa's resolutions, she begs Clarissa to revert to the London scheme accompanied by Miss Howe or to marry Mr. Lovelace immediately due to his reputation.

Letters 81-88 dated April 6th through April 8th Analysis

Mrs. Howe's refusal to offer Clarissa protection hastens the inevitable elopement and fulfills the reader's expectation of Clarissa being disappointed yet again. Clarissa's agreement with Mrs. Howe's resolution, her refusal of Miss Howe's company and her refusal to encourage Mr. Solmes deceitfully prove Clarissa's morals and provide clear examples of her reasoning. The Harlowes' insensitivity towards Clarissa's illness contributes to the crisis at hand and demonstrates their implacableness. Mr. Lovelace's agreement with all of Clarissa's conditions appears to indicate a respect and love for her equal to that which he avows but proves to have been misleading in the ensuing action. The speed with which Mr. Lovelace removes Clarissa's letter accepting Lady Betty's protection serves as a foil for his lack thereof when Clarissa attempts to delay her departure.

This section contains 701 words
(approx. 2 pages at 400 words per page)
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