Study Guide

Clarissa - Letters 321-332 dated July 7th through July 18th Summary & Analysis

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Letters 321-332 dated July 7th through July 18th Summary

Mr. Lovelace complains that he has lost his angel and asks Mr. Belford to help retrieve her. Lord M's illness keeps Mr. Lovelace by his side and prevents him from searching for Clarissa. Lord M hopes that Mr. Lovelace will not do dishonorably by Clarissa. Mr. Lovelace dines with Colonel Ambrose and his two nieces, who he compares to Clarissa to their disadvantage. Mr. Lovelace goes to church and returns to find Lady Betty and Lady Sarah at Lord M's. They read Clarissa's letters to him and accuse him of devilry. Mr. Lovelace defends himself by saying that Clarissa is too nice and unrelenting—if she would forgive him and marry him, all would end well. Lord M angrily threatens to alter his will. Mr. Lovelace is very arrogant and offensive as he assures his family that he will marry Clarissa if she will have him. The next day the discussion continues and Mr. Lovelace reaffirms his intent to marry Clarissa if she will agree. He pleads his love and desperation as defense for the way he treated Clarissa. The ladies of his family believe the only means of reconciliation with Clarissa is through Miss Howe, and Charlotte and Cousin Montague agree to solicit her aid. Mr. Lovelace swears to be a great husband to Clarissa, pleasing his family. Mr. Lovelace requests that John Belford return his letters so that he can destroy the evidence of all of his contrivances.

Mr. Lovelace's cousins visit Miss Howe, and Miss Howe informs Clarissa of the reverence the whole family has for Clarissa. They request that Clarissa place herself under Lady Betty's protection immediately, and Mr. Lovelace will marry Clarissa with his entire family as witnesses. Miss Howe advises Clarissa to agree to this and assures her that she has stipulated that Mr. Lovelace will not see Clarissa until the nuptials are performed. Miss Howe writes again to chide Clarissa for not responding. When her second letter remains answered, Miss Howe writes Charlotte to tell her that the second letter was sent by a special messenger, who was informed at Clarissa's lodgings that Clarissa had disappeared when she went to church. Miss Howe suspects Mr. Lovelace's involvement.

Will saw Clarissa returning from church, and Widow Sinclair had her arrested for lack of payment for her lodging. Mr. Lovelace is furious because they were supposed to find her and await his orders. Mr. Lovelace begs Mr. Belford to bail her out of jail, return her clothes to her, provide her with whatever money she will accept and beg Mr. Lovelace's pardon, although he did not order this travesty. Mr. Lovelace does not go to London himself to avoid being blamed for the offense. Charlotte informs Miss Howe of what has happened, averring that Mr. Lovelace is not responsible for this event. She details Mr. Lovelace's distraction and anger at himself, which is confirmed by an attached note from Lord M, Lady Betty and Lady Sarah, as well as a note from Mr. Lovelace promising Clarissa the option of sentencing him to marriage or the gallows if she will see him again.

Letters 321-332 dated July 7th through July 18th Analysis

Mr. Lovelace's request that John Belford assist him with retrieving Clarissa foreshadows Mr. Belford's involvement with Clarissa for Mr. Lovelace's sake. Lord M's hopes that Mr. Lovelace will not treat Clarissa dishonorably are ironic because they are a little too late, and are shortly followed by the realization that they are too late when Lady Betty and Lady Sarah arrive with Clarissa's letters. Mr. Lovelace's family's reactions to Clarissa's letter and their condemnation of him show the respect they all have for Clarissa. Mr. Lovelace proves his love for Clarissa through his affirmation that he is willing to marry her. It is ironic that Mr. Lovelace will attempt his reconciliation with Clarissa through Miss Howe, since Miss Howe is Clarissa's best friend and will want what is best for Clarissa without regard for Mr. Lovelace. It is ironic that Mr. Lovelace desires to destroy evidence of his contrivances because of his previous pride in his schemes, and because the book is a compilation of those letters and others.

Clarissa's disappearance on her way to church parallels Mr. Lovelace's return from church to find his family preparing to judge his actions. Clarissa's disappearance, to Miss Howe's knowledge, parallels her disappearance from Hampstead, causing Miss Howe's suspicion that Mr. Lovelace has something to do with it. It is ironic that Mr. Lovelace is suspected for Clarissa being jailed when he is innocent, and it parallels his innocence concerning the fire episode at Widow Sinclair's house. Mr. Lovelace expresses his regret and exhibits his conscience through his willingness to allow Clarissa to condemn him to marriage or the gallows, at the same time that this statement shows his true feelings toward matrimony—i.e., that it is along the same lines as being condemned to death.

This section contains 838 words
(approx. 3 pages at 400 words per page)
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