Study Guide

Clarissa - Letters 98-106 dated April 12th Summary & Analysis

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Letters 98-106 dated April 12th Summary

Mr. Lovelace and Clarissa obtain lodgings in an inn under the pretense of being brother and sister, necessary because of Clarissa's discomposure at their arrival to the inn. Clarissa censures herself continually for her rash decision and is unsure what step to take next. Mr. Lovelace pressures her to accept protection from his family, but Clarissa prefers to find private lodgings and send Mr. Lovelace far away from her. Clarissa upbraids Mr. Lovelace for his behavior and his cunning, refusing his suggestion to go to London. Mr. Lovelace defends himself and blames Clarissa for being too suspicious. Although Clarissa has no money, she refuses Mr. Lovelace's offer to provide enough money for her sustenance. Clarissa is furious that she has changed one confinement for another. The landlady, Mrs. Greme accompanies Clarissa on her carriage ride to Mrs. Greme's sister-in-law's inn and gives her opinion on Mr. Lovelace, which is that he is loved and feared equally.

Clarissa writes Arabella and confesses that her action was rash but, defending herself, points out that she was driven into it. Nothing has yet occurred to cause this act to be seen as more than a misunderstanding, and Clarissa will gladly return home to salvage her reputation under the condition of any of her previous offers, which excludes marrying Mr. Solmes. In the interim, she requests that Arabella send her clothes, books and money.

Mr. Lovelace is thrilled that Clarissa is in his possession but angry at her lack of regard for him. He suggests forcing her if she does not concede to marry him. The thought of losing Clarissa is unbearable. Because he suspected that she would decide to postpone her departure, he intentionally did not look for a letter so that she would meet him, and he could convince her or force her to leave. His next goal is to end Miss Howe and Clarissa's correspondence, and he wishes the girls had not been friends because he thinks that conquering both of them would be interesting. He plans to intercept Clarissa's belongings if the Harlowes send them because he does not want her to reconcile with her family. He jokes that if the new landlady, Mrs. Sorlings, is troublesome he will avenge himself against her two daughters. He regrets not sampling Rosebud and complains that all of his sins stem from his love for women.

At Clarissa's elopement, the family meets a servant running through the garden with a stake, who tells them that Clarissa and Mr. Lovelace ran off together. Each individual family member's reaction is unique—anger, grief and horror. The Harlowes expect Clarissa to receive protection from Mr. Lovelace's family and swear they will not reconcile with her through them.

Uncle Antony informs Mrs. Howe about Clarissa's elopement, and Mrs. Howe forbids Miss Howe to correspond with Clarissa. Mr. Hickman has gained some merit with Miss Howe by defending Clarissa to Mrs. Howe and secretly offering to find someone to transport the letters between the ladies. Miss Howe is furious with all the Harlowes and blames them for Clarissa's misfortunes. The Harlowes are stating that Wednesday was to be a final trial, that they would have ceased trying to force Clarissa to marry Mr. Solmes if she still refused, but Miss Howe does not believe that James and Arabella would have allowed it without succeeding in their ends. Miss Howe thinks that Clarissa should either marry Mr. Lovelace or get as far away from him as possible. Clarissa is unsure whether she should marry him, making reconciliation with her family unlikely if not impossible, or not marry him, damaging her reputation. Miss Howe offers Clarissa a loan to prevent her from being dependent on Mr. Lovelace, but Clarissa refuses.

Letters 98-106 dated April 12th Analysis

Mr. Lovelace's invention of a story of their being brother and sister proves his ability to be easily deceitful. Much of his behavior and reasons are seen in this section and it becomes obvious that he is an even worse fellow than Clarissa or Miss Howe can imagine. Mr. Lovelace's schemes against Clarissa and his desire to possess both Clarissa and Miss Howe show his rakish character. His regret of not possessing Rosebud shows that he has very vile thoughts even in his most noble actions.

Clarissa's suspicions against Mr. Lovelace show that she is not naive, though she is innocent and honest. Clarissa's suggestion that she has exchanged one confinement for another, paired with Mr. Lovelace's insinuation that he will force her to marry him, parallels her situation with her family and Mr. Solmes. This situation is worse because she does not have anyone to protect her against Mr. Lovelace if his intentions become dishonorable. Clarissa has already acknowledged herself unhappy with her decision, and this seems a premonition that unhappy times are to follow. Clarissa's letter to Arabella shows her desire to reconcile with her family, as well as her love for them.

Uncle Antony's going to Mrs. Howe to relate the matter and urge her to forbid Miss Howe to correspond with Clarissa is demonstrative of the Harlowes' unrelenting resentment. The family's reactions to Clarissa's elopement shows the varying degrees of desire the family actually has for Clarissa to marry Mr. Solmes. Her mother grieves for Clarissa, while her father and James are simply angry. The immediate issue of money being presented by both Mr. Lovelace and Miss Howe foreshadows Clarissa's future pecuniary difficulties.

This section contains 917 words
(approx. 3 pages at 400 words per page)
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