Study Guide

Clarissa - Letters 120-137 dated April 15th through April 21st Summary & Analysis

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Letters 120-137 dated April 15th through April 21st Summary

Mrs. Greme writes to Mrs. Sorlings expressing her hope that Clarissa marry Mr. Lovelace soon because of his extreme love and reverence for the lady. With the assistance of this letter, Clarissa is very pleased with Mr. Lovelace for his disapproval of Windsor due to the lack of privacy. She worries that Mr. Lovelace's family will think her "unworthy of their alliance" because of her rash decision in running away with him. The next day, Mr. Lovelace and Clarissa have their biggest disagreement yet, because Mr. Lovelace is outraged when he discovers that Clarissa is willing to renounce him as a condition for reconciliation with her family. He insults the Harlowes and laments the pains he has endured for her sake, which, as she reminds him, he endured because of his obstinacy, not her request. Clarissa is irritated that Mr. Lovelace does not propose but, instead, merely hints at marriage.

Mr. Lovelace begs Clarissa's forgiveness for his conduct and cultivates it by reading part of a letter from Lady Betty concerning her hopes that they marry soon and expressing her admiration of Clarissa. Clarissa objects to Mr. Lovelace's suggestion that she visit Lady Betty because she does not have clothes, and it would not be proper to appear without an invitation. When she refuses his money again, Mr. Lovelace urges Clarissa to declare her independence and take possession of The Grove, but Clarissa refuses to litigate with her father and insists that Mr. Lovelace leave her to preserve her reputation. Mr. Lovelace offers to intervene with the Howes for protection for Clarissa but she refuses. He next suggests that she travel to Florence to find Colonel Morden, but Clarissa disagrees with this plan also because her cousin is expected soon.

Clarissa decides that she is no longer opposed to going to London because Mr. Lovelace will be more likely to leave her alone there. Mr. Lovelace agrees, though he states that he is indifferent to where she settles now that the Harlowes have ceased searching for her. Mr. Lovelace's friend, Mr. Doleman sends an account of available lodgings. Clarissa and Mr. Lovelace discuss them with Clarissa gaging his reaction by choosing unsuitable ones, before concurring with him on her preferred choice. Mr. Lovelace triumphs in his contrivance through Doleman and anticipates mischief in London, since he has lead Clarissa to lodge in a brothel. Miss Howe has no objection to Clarissa's removing to London but urges her to marry Mr. Lovelace.

He suggests sending for Mrs. Norton to attend Clarissa, but Clarissa declines this idea because she does not want to injure Mrs. Norton's relationship with Mrs. Harlowe. Clarissa opposes Mr. Lovelace's suggested lodgings and questions his indifference in the matter. They plan for necessary accommodations. Mr. Lovelace later brags that he did not mention London because he knew Clarissa would determine against it if he did. He also anticipated her rejection of allowing Mrs. Norton to attend her. Miss Howe later informs Clarissa that Mrs. Norton has been forbidden to correspond with Clarissa and Miss Howe as a condition for remaining in the Harlowes' favor. She also informs Clarissa that Hannah is ill, and Clarissa requests that she send Hannah two guineas, though she refuses Miss Howe's money for her own uses. Miss Howe admits that she does not always treat Mr. Hickman fairly, and Clarissa seconds that opinion. Miss Howe defends herself by saying that he will have the upper hand soon.

James discovers that Clarissa is not married yet and determines to rescue her. He assumes she is ruined and, if so, will ship her off to his property in Scotland. Mr. Lovelace warns Clarissa about James' scheme, but he is not very worried. She rejects his offered defense against James. Mr. Lovelace hints at the scheme being abandoned if they were married, but Clarissa still avoids a definitive answer, hoping Colonel Morden will arrive soon. Clarissa is angry at James and Arabella for turning her uncles against her, because Uncle Antony has turned Mrs. Howe against her, causing her correspondence to be forbidden unless Mrs. Howe reads everything that passes between them.

Letters 120-137 dated April 15th through April 21st Analysis

Clarissa's fear of Mr. Lovelace's family thinking her unworthy of their alliance proves that she intends to marry Mr. Lovelace, but she also proves that it is not her first choice by telling him that she will renounce him to promote reconciliation with her family and avoiding replying to his proposal to wait for Colonel Morden. Mr. Lovelace occasionally breaks out into passionate speeches, which anger Clarissa. His apologies prove his determination to remain on good terms with her but the sincerity of the apologies needs to be questioned since he often explains a motive for them to John Belford. Mr. Lovelace's intimate knowledge of the way Clarissa will react to most things suggests that he obtained detailed information about her from his spy because she has not provided him with enough opportunity to be acquainted so minutely with the idiosyncrasies of her temperament as he appears to be. He predicates all his actions and suggestions to appear honest and trustworthy, knowing what she will reject and thereby minimizing the danger of ruining his scheme. Miss Howe's acknowledgment that Mr. Hickman will soon have the upper hand in their relationship evidences her intent to marry him, eventually. James' opinion that Clarissa is ruined reinforces Mr. Lovelace's reputation, but also shows James' disregard for his sister and disbelief in her morals.

This section contains 932 words
(approx. 3 pages at 400 words per page)
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