Study Guide

Clarissa - Letters 269-281 dated June 20th through June 23rd Summary & Analysis

This Study Guide consists of approximately 135 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of Clarissa.
This section contains 883 words
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Letters 269-281 dated June 20th through June 23rd Summary

Clarissa attempts to bribe Dorcas with twenty pounds a year for life and a diamond ring to aid in her escape. She fakes sick and confides in Dorcas her intent to leave the house and her plan to seek protection in the first house she finds open after her escape. She confesses she is not married. Mr. Lovelace dreams that Dorcas betrays him and solicits a dowager in the market to rescue Clarissa. Clarissa shares a bed with the dowager, who gets up in the middle of the night to take her medicine but drops the candle on her return to the room. Mr. Lovelace gets into bed with Clarissa, and Clarissa lives happily on her grandfather's estate with their son. Mr. Lovelace decides to try this scheme but will marry Clarissa if it fails. Clarissa's illness irritates Mr. Lovelace because the dowager scheme will take place tomorrow morning. He lays a letter in Clarissa's path from Captain Tomlinson stating that Uncle Harlowe will be in town for his birthday and wants the marriage to take place on that day so he can attend. Clarissa refuses to accept the dowager's assistance, suspecting the convenience of that and the placement of Captain Tomlinson's letter. She distrusts Dorcas, though she tells Dorcas that she still places confidence in her, puzzling Mr. Lovelace. The failure of the dowager scheme upsets Mr. Lovelace.

Clarissa complains to Mr. Lovelace of her detainment and refuses Mr. Lovelace's request for forgiveness and marriage, despite Captain Tomlinson's letter. Mr. Lovelace receives news that Lord M is very ill and he must go to him. Miss Howe writes Clarissa, upset that she has received no response, worried that her letters are not being delivered to Clarissa and disappointed that Clarissa has returned to Mr. Lovelace. Mr. Lovelace and Clarissa meet again and the conversation is nearly identical to their prior conversation. Clarissa is again prevented from running away. Clarissa agrees to wait for Thursday, Uncle Harlowe's birthday and the intended wedding before making a decision. Mr. Lovelace cannot convince Clarissa to promise marriage or that she will stay in the house while Mr. Lovelace visits Lord M. Upon a summons from Lord M requesting to see Mr. Lovelace before he dies, Mr. Lovelace agrees to allow Clarissa to go to Hampstead, while he visits Lord M if she promises to marry him. Clarissa does not believe he should trust such a promise, but Mr. Lovelace is willing to trust her and promises to convey her to Mrs. Moore's house first thing in the morning, if no new cause arises to dissuade him. Mr. Lovelace intends to have Dorcas drop the promissory note, detailing the fees Clarissa will provide Dorcas with to help her escape. Mr. Lovelace is very loath to lose Clarissa at this point because he means to marry her.

Mr. Lovelace gives orders to Dorcas and Widow Sinclair about Clarissa's removal to Hampstead at Clarissa's insistence. Clarissa will still not promise to marry him. He plans to spend the evening with Clarissa and if she will not forgive him, he will find the promissory note and attempt her again. If she will forgive him, he will marry her. Mr. Lovelace is not satisfied with his interview with Clarissa and "finds" the promissory note after Clarissa retires to her chamber. He verbally abuses Dorcas, and then he and the other ladies remove to the dining room to judge Dorcas' betrayal. Widow Sinclair and the other ladies of the house complain about Dorcas and Clarissa, while Dorcas pleads that Clarissa has been maltreated. Clarissa enters the room and blames her ruin on Mr. Lovelace and the ladies. She produces a penknife and threatens to stab herself if anyone comes near her. Mr. Lovelace begins to approach her, and she nearly stabs herself before he rushes to the opposite side of the room. She refuses his proposals and insists on going to Hampstead first thing in the morning before returning to her chamber.

Letters 269-281 dated June 20th through June 23rd Analysis

This section of the book is very repetitious. Clarissa and Mr. Lovelace continually argue, he begging forgiveness and proposing marriage and she refusing both. Clarissa's confidence in Dorcas is confusing but provides evidence of Clarissa's cunning in pretending to take Dorcas into her confidence as a means of confiding only what she wants known. This parallels many of Mr. Lovelace's schemes. The necessity for Mr. Lovelace to leave Clarissa to go to Lord M's deathbed, as well as Clarissa's refusal to promise to stay in the house while he is gone, foreshadows Clarissa's escape from Mr. Lovelace. Mr. Lovelace's pride stands in his way over and over again throughout this novel, and his determination to make a scheme Clarissa's last trial but then deciding against it and attempting her again parallels the treatment she received from the Harlowes concerning Mr. Solmes. It is ironic that Mr. Lovelace condemned the way the Harlowes treated Clarissa and sought revenge against them for it but he treats her worse when he has her in his power. Clarissa's threats to kill herself prove the importance of her honor to her and emphasize her losing her senses.

This section contains 883 words
(approx. 3 pages at 400 words per page)
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