Study Guide

Clarissa - Letters 107-119 dated April 13th through April 15th Summary & Analysis

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Letters 107-119 dated April 13th through April 15th Summary

Mr. Lovelace is not happy with the short amount of time Clarissa spends with him and the lack of intimacy between them. Clarissa is irritated that he endangers her reputation by not leaving her alone despite his implications that she is not safe from the Harlowes' threats yet. He suggests that they spend a few months visiting after their immediate wedding, and Clarissa blushes and is unable to respond. Although Clarissa offends Mr. Lovelace through her reprimands and her dignity, he finds the pursuit of a truly virtuous lady much more fun than his prior accomplishments. Although Mr. Lovelace declares Clarissa is the only wife he will ever have, he does not really want to marry at all, especially a Harlowe. Mr. Lovelace does not believe Clarissa's motive for running away was to prevent mischief; he believes she loves him. Because he thinks virtue is important in a wife, he decides to test Clarissa to make sure she is as virtuous as is believed. His argument is that it is easy to be virtuous if you have never had an opportunity to be otherwise. If Clarissa is easily overcome, he will be able to avoid marriage and have Clarissa as a mistress.

When Clarissa accuses Mr. Lovelace of contriving with Joseph to trick her into running away, Mr. Lovelace denies it but admits that Joseph is his spy in the Harlowe family. He explains that James and Arabella sent Joseph to bribe one of Mr. Lovelace's servants to spy on him, and Lovelace met Joseph and was able to convince him of his honorable intentions towards Clarissa. Joseph was only supposed to warn Mr. Lovelace if anyone came. He admits that he intended to take Clarissa with him if possible and passionately declares that if she had not gone with him, he would have kidnapped James or Mr. Solmes, which angers Clarissa. He later retracts his confession about the kidnapping scheme, stating that his reputation is mostly lies that he has made up himself to scare people from crossing him and reduce mischief. Clarissa is convinced that he will never make a good husband, but she is unsure how to escape from him.

Miss Howe wonders if Mr. Lovelace confesses any faults that Clarissa does not discover on her own but still advises Clarissa to marry him as soon as possible. Miss Howe advises Clarissa to stop instigating arguments with Mr. Lovelace because humbleness is not natural to him. Clarissa does not believe Mr. Lovelace will avenge himself against her virtue, but if he attempts it, she is sure she can withstand the temptation. Mr. Lovelace complains that Clarissa's modesty evokes modesty from him. He wants to provide Clarissa with clothes and money in order to see something that belongs to him on her body.

The Harlowes call an assembly to discuss sending Clarissa's belongings to her, but only Mrs. Harlowe wants to do so and is overruled. Mr. Lovelace is convinced that the Harlowes' implacableness will lead Clarissa to confide in him. He decides to move to more convenient lodgings when he hears that the Harlowes have given up their search for Clarissa. Clarissa and he decide on Windsor with Clarissa asking Hannah to attend her. Hannah is unable to attend Clarissa because Hannah is sick. Mr. Lovelace promises to leave Clarissa there while he proves his reformation, using her as his example, though he warns her that reformation is not a sudden event in case he relapses. Clarissa is pleased with this and writes Aunt Hervey to request her belongings and urge reconciliation. Mr. Lovelace does not actually intend to allow Clarissa to settle in Windsor, but he knows she will be displeased if he mentions London. He pretends to visit Windsor dutifully and finds it inappropriate for Clarissa's circumstances. On his return to see Clarissa, he visits Mrs. Greme to cultivate her help.

Letters 107-119 dated April 13th through April 15th Analysis

Mr. Lovelace's pride is exhibited through his anger at Clarissa's disinterest and his desire to see her wear something that he bought. His disdain for marriage foreshadows his future conduct towards Clarissa, emphasized by his thought of convincing her to be his mistress rather than wife. His abrupt manner of suggesting marriage without pursuing it is calculated to convince Clarissa of his honorable intentions without actually incurring the danger of being forced to proceed with the wedding. His intention to prove Clarissa's virtue foreshadows her future ruin as well as examines his distrust in women. His scheme to pretend to visit Windsor cultivates Clarissa's trust and contributes to Mr. Lovelace's ultimate goal.

Clarissa's accusations prove her to be less modest than she has appeared to this point. She is very headstrong and capable of transcending the normal bounds of modesty when honesty and honor require it. Miss Howe entreats Clarissa to stop provoking Mr. Lovelace, showing her knowledge of his arrogance and foreshadowing his revenge against Clarissa, which is based largely on her injuries to his pride. Because Mrs. Greme has already ingratiated herself to Clarissa, Mr. Lovelace uses her to unwittingly promote his point with Clarissa, which is foreshadowed by his visiting the lady. Hannah's illness is ironic because Mr. Lovelace did not intend to allow her to attend Clarissa anyway because she may influence Clarissa away from Mr. Lovelace's intentions, but her illness is a legitimate cause that prevents further scheming by Mr. Lovelace.

This section contains 920 words
(approx. 3 pages at 400 words per page)
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