Study Guide

Clarissa - Letters 258-268 dated June 14th through June 19th Summary & Analysis

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Letters 258-268 dated June 14th through June 19th Summary

John Belford pleads with Mr. Lovelace to marry Clarissa now because he is shocked that she lived through the outrage. No other man could have been so cruel to her, and he would give up all of his money for Mr. Lovelace to marry Clarissa. Mr. Lovelace assures John Belford that if he marries, it will be Clarissa, but he is unsure what to do because he still wants cohabitation, but more importantly, forgiveness. Clarissa is stupefied from the drugs used to subdue her. Mr. Lovelace has told Clarissa that Miss Howe is very ill and unable to write her. Miss Howe has not received a response from Clarissa to her last letter. Mrs. Townsend arrives at Hampstead to meet Clarissa but is told that Clarissa and Mr. Lovelace have reconciled and are happy.

Clarissa is nearly mad. She throws away everything she writes, but Dorcas has brought remnants to Mr. Lovelace. She writes to Miss Howe saying she cannot tell her of the dreadful things she needs to tell, to her papa begging forgiveness despite her unworthiness, and to Arabella despairing that she recognized Clarissa's vanity before Clarissa did. She also writes a parable about a lady attempting to tame a lion that devours her and blaming the lady for going against nature. She writes several other pieces rebuking her actions and remonstrating against Mr. Lovelace. Mr. Lovelace feels reproached and hopes that Clarissa regains her senses. Clarissa writes to Mr. Lovelace that she never wants to see Widow Sinclair again, Mr. Lovelace is a devil and the two have killed Clarissa's head. She refuses to be Mrs. Lovelace and asks to be sent to a madhouse to avoid public disgrace because she is going insane. Mr. Lovelace blames opium for Clarissa's madness. He regrets what he has done.

Dorcas tells Mr. Lovelace that Clarissa is recovering. Mr. Lovelace goes out for the morning, and Clarissa's attempt to escape is prevented by Widow Sinclair. Dorcas warns Mr. Lovelace that Clarissa plans to visit his chambers. Clarissa visits Mr. Lovelace in her nightgown, rebukes him and asks him what is to become of her with great composure. This makes Mr. Lovelace very discomposed, and he, stuttering, offers amends via marriage. Clarissa refuses to marry him and asks if she is a prisoner. She wants to be penitent and save her soul since her body is ruined. She insists upon controlling the rest of her life and leaves, refusing to listen to Mr. Lovelace's urges for marriage. Mr. Lovelace does not sleep all night and regrets meeting Clarissa. Clarissa prepares to leave and sends Dorcas to ask for an audience with Mr. Lovelace in the dining room. While Dorcas is out of the way, Clarissa attempts to escape but is stopped by the other women in the house. Clarissa calls out of the window to people in the street for help, but Mr. Lovelace drags her to her bedchamber. One of the loose women of the house pretend to be the lady that cried out and subdues the constable and mob that come to investigate.

Lord M is very sick and Mr. Lovelace hopes that the grandeur of his inheritance will convince Clarissa to have him. Clarissa tells Mr. Lovelace that she suspects that her ruin was premeditated. She demands to know what right Mr. Lovelace has to detain her and continually refuses to accept his offers of amendment through marriage because her honor is lost, and she will not offend his worthy family. Mr. Lovelace refuses to lose her while he has life and begs to marry her the next day. Clarissa threatens suicide and insists upon quitting the house. Mr. Lovelace asks for her honor the next day but Clarissa responds that she has no honor. She will not consider the proposal until she is a free agent. She tries to escape again and a servant is placed at the foot of the stairs. Clarissa begs Mr. Lovelace to kill her and in a scuffle she receives a bloody nose. Mr. Lovelace thinks she has stabbed herself and offers to do the same until he sees the source of the blood. Although Mr. Lovelace renounces marriage in Clarissa's absence, he is ready to marry her immediately every time he sees her. Clarissa tells Dorcas that her heart is broken.

Letters 258-268 dated June 14th through June 19th Analysis

John Belford's pleading for Clarissa is repetitious as is Mr. Lovelace's continual confusion between his feelings for Clarissa and his pride. Mr. Lovelace tells Clarissa that Miss Howe is ill to prevent Clarissa from suspecting his contrivances in preventing Miss Howe's correspondence with Clarissa. Clarissa's madness foreshadows her illness and also parallels Mr. Lovelace's madness after Clarissa's death. The story Clarissa writes about the lion and the lady is an allegory referring to Clarissa's attempt to tame Mr. Lovelace. The use of opium in Clarissa's rape parallels Mr. Lovelace's use of narcotics in his sickness. It also proves Clarissa's virtue because she was not overcome mentally. Clarissa's unrelenting resentment foreshadows the continuation of her resentment and parallels her family's obstinacy. Clarissa's attempts at escape are repetitious; they parallel her earlier escape and foreshadow her future escape. Mr. Lovelace's willingness to stab himself when he believes Clarissa has ended her life foreshadows her death and his madness that results from it. Clarissa's declaration that her heart is broken foreshadows her illness

This section contains 916 words
(approx. 3 pages at 400 words per page)
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