Study Guide

Clarissa - Letters 310-320 dated July 5th through July 13th Summary & Analysis

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Letters 310-320 dated July 5th through July 13th Summary

Miss Howe's misery concerning her fears for Clarissa causes Mrs. Howe to confess that she has forbid Clarissa to write and to agree to allow Miss Howe to write under condition that Mrs. Howe reads the letters before they are sent. Mrs. Howe apologizes to Clarissa for her prior severity, but Miss Howe doubts it was severe enough. Miss Howe writes that she is angry at Clarissa for not responding to her previous three letters and for returning to Mr. Lovelace, severely recounting some of her prior communications against him. Clarissa responds that her severe style was more like Arabella than her dear Miss Howe and encloses the letter she received from Miss Howe, Mr. Lovelace's forgery in reality. She laments that she never saw Miss Howe's messenger and that Mr. Lovelace corrupts everyone. She explains to Miss Howe about Mr. Lovelace finding her in Hampstead and the fake Lady Betty and Charlotte.

In Hampstead, Lady Betty mentions the vileness of Widow Sinclair's house and Mr. Lovelace acts surprised and leads Lady Betty to doubt that she means the same house where he and Clarissa are lodged. Lady Betty begs Clarissa to visit her Cousin Leeson so ardently that Clarissa is in the carriage before she can decide. They pass by Widow Sinclair's house in London, and Mr. Lovelace insists on stopping for his mail. Clarissa faints and the ladies insist she go inside to be revived. Clarissa believes she was drugged because her mind was altered after she drank the water and hartshorn given to her. Lady Betty leaves to change her clothes while Mr. Lovelace responds to his letters, and Clarissa packs her clothes to return to Hampstead. The ladies are late returning and Mr. Lovelace seems triumphant when his demands for a coach go unanswered. Clarissa's head gets worse and worse when she hears that Charlotte is sick, and she is forbidden to go to the Mrs. Leeson's house.

Clarissa details her recovery, her attempts to escape and all Mr. Lovelace's entreaties for marriage. She explains that she wrote Miss Howe immediately but was very grieved for imposing on her when she received Mrs. Howe's letter. She recounts all she has discovered about Mr. Lovelace's contrivances and asks the Howes to secretly sit in judgment now that they know the whole affair. Miss Howe, realizing the letter Clarissa received was a forgery, sends the rough drafts of her previous letters. She rails on Mr. Lovelace for being a devil and the Harlowes for abandoning Clarissa. She fears that neither Clarissa nor Miss Howe is safe and urges Clarissa to take legal action. Mrs. Howe persists in believing that the fault is in Clarissa's original disobedience but agrees that Clarissa should prosecute Mr. Lovelace for her family's honor, making it a condition of the future correspondence between Miss Howe and Clarissa. Miss Howe agrees to attend Clarissa to court and offers money and the assistance of anyone over whom she has influence. She fears for Clarissa's safety and offers to have Mrs. Townsend direct Clarissa to safer lodgings, but Clarissa assures Miss Howe that her lodgings are as safe and private as possible.

Clarissa responds that she is not in spirits to prosecute but may when she feels better. She promises to provide Miss Howe with the particulars of her story but doubts that Miss Howe will see them until the close of Clarissa's last scene. Clarissa writes Miss Rawlins to question the letter brought by a messenger from Miss Howe, learns that Widow Bevis intercepted it and receives apologies and an explanation of Mr. Lovelace's deceptions in Hampstead. Miss Howe tries to comfort Clarissa, telling her that Mr. Hickman would attend Clarissa but they are afraid that Mr. Lovelace monitors them. Clarissa promises to prosecute Mr. Lovelace if he bothers Mr. Hickman or the Howes.

Letters 310-320 dated July 5th through July 13th Analysis

Miss Howe's severity in her first letter to Clarissa shows their close friendship and willingness to reprimand one another for failures. It also shows her disappointment in not hearing from Clarissa for such a long time. Clarissa details everything that has occurred since her last letter to Miss Howe in an attempt to clear herself of the blame of not writing her best friend. Clarissa recounts the means used to convey her to London and introduce the opium into her system, which Mr. Lovelace neglects to write about. This is the first the reader knows of these means and they further emphasize Mr. Lovelace's deceit and treachery. Miss Howe's concern for Clarissa shows her love and loyalty. Her fear for Mr. Hickman's safety foreshadows her relationship with him. Clarissa's fear that Miss Howe will not know the particulars of her story until after her last scene foreshadows her death. Miss Howe's fear that Mr. Lovelace monitors her and Mr. Hickman provides evidence of her penetrating consciousness of the schemes the man can contrive.

This section contains 839 words
(approx. 3 pages at 400 words per page)
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