Study Guide

Clarissa - Study Guide Letters 198-206 dated May 21st through May 23rd Summary & Analysis

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Letters 198-206 dated May 21st through May 23rd Summary

Mr. Lovelace is furious when he reads the transcriptions of Clarissa's letter, and he plots revenge against Miss Howe and Clarissa for the freedoms they take with him and his friends. He blames Miss Howe for Clarissa's reserve and wishes to bring Miss Howe to London in order to break her as well as Clarissa.

Clarissa enjoys the play but decides to avoid Mr. Lovelace the entire next day, Sunday. He is displeased that she goes to church without him. He is pleased when she agrees to sup with him and intents to try her in the dining room. When he sees her angelic appearance, he loses this intent but is caught up in rapture and speaks passionately to Clarissa. This frightens her and she tears her prepared response to his proposal in half and requests that Miss Howe perfect the scheme with Mrs. Townsend. Monday, she announces to Mr. Lovelace that she is going abroad, but he is afraid she will not return. They argue, Mr. Lovelace detaining Clarissa while Dorcas transcribes the torn proposal response. When Mr. Lovelace renews his marriage offer, Clarissa leaves the room scornfully. Mr. Lovelace nearly decides to discontinue his schemes based on Clarissa's letter, which asks him not to litigate with her father, hopes for a reconciliation with her family, accepts his settlements and dedicates ten percent of her annual allowance to charity. He loves her more than ever but decides to try a few more schemes; however, he disdains force, but he is unsure how to overcome Clarissa's will.

Mennell's conscience bothers him, and he backs out of the scheme, but agrees to send one last letter. The letter arrives, stating that Mrs. Fretchville is ill and occupation of the house will have to be delayed. A messenger delivers it in Mr. Lovelace's absence, and it is directed to Mr. Lovelace or his lady. Clarissa accepts it, which pleases Mr. Lovelace because she acknowledges herself his lady. Unfortunately, Clarissa decides this is a scheme and decides to quit Mr. Lovelace. Another letter arrives from Charlotte stating that Lord M has been unable to visit because of illness but plans to call soon. This causes Clarissa to think herself hasty in blaming Mr. Lovelace for the house, and she decides to stay. The next morning, Mr. Lovelace expresses his regrets about the house as well as his regret over the slow attorney that Lord M appoints to handle the settlements. When Clarissa asks to borrow Charlotte's letter, he tells her to keep it to send to Miss Howe. Clarissa's unusual complacency makes Mr. Lovelace feel more secure in her favor.

A servant inquires of Dorcas if Clarissa and Mr. Lovelace are married, asking for details. Dorcas confirms that they are married but refuses details because the man refuses to tell her why he is asking.

Mr. Lovelace is not happy with Lord M's letter and intends to transcribe the acceptable parts of it. He decides to allow Clarissa to see it if she consents to kiss him, but her modesty makes him ashamed to ask and he allows her to see it without the kiss. The letter expresses Lord M's hope that Mr. Lovelace will reform, marry Clarissa and have children with her, since illegitimate children cannot have the title of an heir. He provides his offers of settlements for Mrs. Clarissa Lovelace. He believes the Harlowes will repent the way they have treated Mr. Lovelace when they see what an excellent husband and father he makes. He assures Clarissa that if Mr. Lovelace does not "make the best of husbands to so good a young lady," Lord M will renounce his nephew and leave everything to Clarissa and her children. He also sends an account of the inheritances Mr. Lovelace will receive from Lord M and his sisters by pleasing them, which means marrying Clarissa.

Letters 198-206 dated May 21st through May 23rd Analysis

Mr. Lovelace's plots against Miss Howe and Clarissa for the freedoms they take with him in their letters foreshadows his scheme against Miss Howe and are ironic because of the many freedoms he takes with Clarissa. His blaming Miss Howe for Clarissa's reserve is also very ironic because Miss Howe is much less reserved that Clarissa. Clarissa's fear of Mr. Lovelace's passionate speeches and her determination to leave the day after them foreshadows her escape and reaffirms her virtuous nature. Her dedication of ten percent of her annual allowance to charity demonstrates her nature and parallels her poor fund that is set up in her will. Mr. Lovelace's declaration that he disdains force but is unsure how to overcome Clarissa's will, paradoxically foreshadows her rape. Clarissa's indecision is manifested in her decision to quit Mr. Lovelace after she receives the letter stating the house is not ready but immediately changing her mind when she receives Charlotte's letter. The servant's arrival foreshadows Captain Tomlinson's involvement. Mr. Lovelace's modesty that results from Clarissa's modesty is repetitious and seems to indicate reform. Lord M's statement that illegitimate children cannot have the title of an heir alludes to Mr. Lovelace's illicit liaisons. Lord M's doubt that Mr. Lovelace may not make a great husband for Clarissa implies his knowledge of Mr. Lovelace's character. His account of the inheritances that Mr. Lovelace will receive by pleasing his family appears to be a bribe to convince Mr. Lovelace to marry Clarissa.

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