Study Guide

Clarissa - Letters 282-309 dated June 24th through July 6th Summary & Analysis

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Letters 282-309 dated June 24th through July 6th Summary

Mr. Lovelace must go to Lord M's and writes to Clarissa defending Dorcas' loyalty and giving Clarissa permission to go to Hampstead, if she promises to marry him Thursday. He writes again because Clarissa does not respond. Again receiving no respond, he begs for marriage and tells Clarissa that Uncle Harlowe cannot attend but has named Captain Tomlinson as his proxy and has persuaded Mrs. Harlowe to agree to the reconciliation. Mr. Lovelace regrets his many contrivances against Clarissa and is upset that she will not respond. He will marry her Thursday if he can persuade her to have him because otherwise, all of his plots will be discovered. He informs Clarissa and John Belford that John Belford will visit her, but Mr. Belford refuses to agree unless Mr. Lovelace swears her means honorably by Clarissa. Mr. Lovelace tells Clarissa that Captain Tomlinson will visit her since Mr. Belford is unavailable. Mr. Lovelace directs M'Donald, Widow Sinclair and the ladies concerning what to say and how to act around Clarissa. Captain Tomlinson is visiting at Lovelace's direction to determine if Clarissa will marry Lovelace. Mr. Lovelace does not want to leave Lord M due to his extreme illness unless he is sure that he will achieve his desire.

Clarissa demands to go to church, but the ladies and servants refuse to let her leave and lock up the house. Clarissa's threats to the ladies about the consequences of detaining her cause them to leave the key in the door. Clarissa locks herself in her room for several days and cultivates a familiarity with Mabel, one of the maids. Clarissa asks Mabel to have a seamstress come to adjust some clothes that she will give Mabel. Mabel tries on the clothes and Clarissa suggests that she and the seamstress work in Mr. Lovelace's room where a mirror is available. After Mabel and the seamstress leave Clarissa's room, Clarissa throws Mabel's clothes, jacket and hood on over her clothes, goes downstairs and out the door. Will assumes it is Mabel and goes upstairs to guard Clarissa's room. When Mabel and Will run into each other, there is an uproar and Mabel is blamed as a conspirator and escapes to her family.

M'Donald writes to Mr. Lovelace, Mowbray, Tourville, Belford and Belton that Clarissa has escaped and the house is in an uproar. Mr. Mowbray informs Mr. Lovelace that Will and Dorcas are suicidal from fear of Mr. Lovelace. He thinks Clarissa's action was stupid and offers his condolences. Mr. Belford is pleased with Clarissa's escape but worried about her condition. Mr. Lovelace is very upset to lose Clarissa and swears to marry her immediately if she can be found before his contrivances are discovered. His anger is directed at the ladies for allowing Clarissa to escape but also for encouraging him to ruin her. He is also very irritated that Lord M has recovered.

Clarissa writes to Miss Howe that she has escaped again but she is half crazy because she is lost. She fears that Miss Howe will hate her when she knows everything. Mrs. Howe receives the letter and responds, blaming Clarissa's giddiness for her fall and insisting that she end her correspondence with Miss Howe. Clarissa apologizes to Mrs. Howe and inquires about Miss Howe's health and former illness. She agrees to end the correspondence but begs Mrs. Howe not to tell the Harlowes that she has heard from Clarissa. Clarissa writes Hannah to request her attendance for one month, but Hannah is still very ill and unable to come.

Clarissa writes to Lady Betty asking about the letters she has written to Mr. Lovelace that were used against Clarissa, as well as inquiring about her appearance in London. Lady Betty assures Clarissa of the family's eagerness to have her in their family but denies writing the mentioned letters or attending Clarissa in London. She offers to mediate between Clarissa and Mr. Lovelace. Clarissa declines the offer of mediation and explains that Mr. Lovelace has committed great crimes against her, including robbing her of her honor. Clarissa writes to Mrs. Hodges, Uncle Harlowe's housekeeper inquiring about Captain Tomlinson and finds out that there is no such person.

Clarissa writes Mrs. Norton to ask about Uncle Harlowe's birthday and whether James is still searching for her. She asks Mrs. Norton to attempt to convince Mr. Harlowe to revoke his curse on Clarissa. She expresses much sorrow that she cannot assist her poor as she used to. Mrs. Norton responds that she hopes Clarissa has escaped Mr. Lovelace with her honor but fears the worst. Uncle Harlowe's birthday was not celebrated and the family barely leaves the house since Clarissa left. She has never heard about James' plot to kidnap Clarissa. Mrs. Norton's son is sick, but she will gladly attend Clarissa as soon as he is better. She assures Clarissa that she has managed the money Clarissa gave her in the past to provide well for the poor. She urges Clarissa to hope in Providence and reminds her that bad experiences can lead to positive experiences, recounting her own life story as an example. She reminds Clarissa that Clarissa's bad decision was instigated by her family. Clarissa wishes that Mrs. Norton had been her mother and assures Mrs. Norton that she is not so much to blame as everyone thinks in the affair, promising to reveal whole story when she can. Clarissa feels that God is punishing her since she cannot write Miss Howe; Mrs. Howe is angry, and Mrs. Norton's son and Hannah are sick. She refuses Mrs. Norton's offer to attend her because she does not want to sever Mrs. Norton's friendship with the Harlowes because it may be useful later in convincing Mr. Harlowe to renounce his curse against Clarissa. Clarissa assures Mrs. Norton that she is with people of good character and apologizes for not writing sooner, excusing herself that she did not want to injure Mrs. Norton with the Harlowes.

Arabella visits Mrs. Norton and Mrs. Norton is tempted to tell her about Clarissa but refrains. She does suggest that Arabella use her sisterly interest to persuade Mr. Harlowe to lift his curse against Clarissa, which makes Arabella angry. When Mrs. Norton assures Arabella she has not been communicating with Clarissa since the elopement, Arabella assumes that Mrs. Norton's information comes from Miss Howe and she complains of the way Miss Howe talks about the Harlowes. Mrs. Norton advises Clarissa to ask Miss Howe to watch what she says since it is believed that her words come from Clarissa's mouth to which Clarissa agrees, but Clarissa is very upset by a severe letter she receives from Miss Howe. Clarissa decides to write to Arabella to ask father to renounce his curse against Clarissa.

Letters 282-309 dated June 24th through July 6th Analysis

Clarissa's lack of response to Mr. Lovelace's three letters foreshadows her escape and parallels the Harlowes' implacableness. Mr. Lovelace's fear that his plots will be discovered foreshadows Clarissa's inquiries into the details of everything he has told her and the discovery of his contrivances. Mr. Lovelace's directions to M'Donald and the ladies in the brothel about how to act around Clarissa proves that his schemes are not yet at an end. Clarissa's schemes that enable her to escape parallels Mr. Lovelace's contrivances but serve as a foil since her schemes are pure and do not seek to injure anyone. Mr. Mowbray's character is revealed in his opinion that Clarissa is stupid for running away from Mr. Lovelace, but it is also ironic because of the extreme stupidity and lack of sensibility he shows in his every appearance. Mr. Lovelace's irritation at Lord M's recovery shows his insensitivity and lack of family love, which serves as foil to Clarissa's extreme reverence for her family.

Clarissa writes to Miss Howe as soon as she settles after her escape which parallels her former escape to Hampstead. Mrs. Howe insists that Clarissa end her correspondence with Miss Howe, a repetitious event that occurs every time Mrs. Howe finds out that the correspondence is continued. It also parallels the Harlowes' refusal to receive correspondence from Clarissa. Clarissa's discovery of all of Mr. Lovelace's contrivances foreshadows her unrelenting resentment. Mrs. Norton's revelation that the Harlowes barely leave the house since Clarissa left insinuates regret and foreshadows reconciliation. Clarissa demonstrates her pride in her virtue by her promise to Mrs. Norton that she is not as much to blame as everyone seems to think. The importance to Clarissa for Mr. Harlowe to renounce his curse on Clarissa is foreshadowed in her letter to Mrs. Norton mentioning the fact. Arabella's blaming Miss Howe for her freedoms with the Harlowes foreshadows her resentment and their ensuing argument. Clarissa decides to write Arabella to ask that Mr. Harlowe renounce his curse, but Arabella's anger when Mrs. Norton suggested this foreshadows that Clarissa's request will be rejected.

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