Study Guide

Clarissa - Study Guide Letters 218-224 dated May 30th through June 7th Summary & Analysis

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Letters 218-224 dated May 30th through June 7th Summary

Mr. Lovelace decides not to show Clarissa Lord M's next letter and to only relay what is necessary to her, saying he ran into Pritchard, the attorney handling the settlements, in town. Clarissa and Mr. Lovelace take an airing and discuss their future together. Clarissa pities everyone who is not as happy as she is now. The settlements arrive and Mr. Lovelace and Clarissa peruse and approve them. Clarissa rebukes the freedoms that Mr. Lovelace takes with her, telling him that marriage should be a pure state. Mr. Lovelace approves of refraining from public loves. He is also pleased that Clarissa forgives his liberties much easier than before. While they are discussing these plans, Mr. Lovelace kisses Clarissa's lips, causing her to avert her face though she does not get angry. He makes a mistake by kissing her breast, and Clarissa storms out of the room, refusing to see him.

They receive a letter from Captain Tomlinson informing them of Uncle Harlowe's disappointment in their living together unmarried for so long. Uncle Harlowe approves the settlements and encourages them to marry hurriedly and date their marriage from the beginning of their residency together. There will be no reconciliation until they are married. Clarissa agrees to set the date as soon as the settlements are complete and the license is obtained.

Mr. Lovelace plans his next scheme to be his last. He will gain access to Clarissa in the middle of the night with Dorcas' assistance. Mr. Belford begs him again to spare Clarissa's virtue because of her honor and modesty, as well as her love for Mr. Lovelace. Clarissa's merits stimulate Mr. Lovelace to seduce her as a means of trying the virtue of all women through Clarissa, in addition to avenging his sufferings at Harlowe Place.

Letters 218-224 dated May 30th through June 7th Analysis

Mr. Lovelace's decision not to show Clarissa Lord M's next letter indicates that it abuses Mr. Lovelace's character in a way that he is unwilling for Clarissa to see. Clarissa believes that marriage should be a pure state and Mr. Lovelace approves of refraining from public loves. Although Clarissa's statement is characteristic of her purity and virtue, Mr. Lovelace's idea is extremely ironic considering his habit of treating love as a sport. When Clarissa permits Mr. Lovelace to kiss her lips, he must take it a step too far and outrage her by kissing her breast. He is unable to stay within acceptable limits. This foreshadows the breach between him and Clarissa. Captain Tomlinson's letter conveying Uncle Harlowe's disappointment in their living together unmarried for so long serves as a device to hasten their marriage. The declaration that reconciliation with the Harlowes will not be possible until Clarissa marries Mr. Lovelace is an attempt to encourage Clarissa's forgiveness for the attempts Mr. Lovelace will make.

Mr. Lovelace's intent that the next scheme will be the last parallels the Harlowes' declaration that the Wednesday of the wedding with Mr. Solmes was to be Clarissa's last trial. His plan to gain access to Clarissa in the middle of the night foreshadows the fire scene, as well as provides an example of his dishonesty. It also shows that he does not believe it likely to ruin Clarissa by fair means. His defense that he is trying all women's virtue through Clarissa is a means of praise to her extreme virtue but is also unjust, since she is one woman and he uses extraordinary means he uses to ruin her.

This section contains 599 words
(approx. 2 pages at 400 words per page)
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