Study Guide

Clarissa - Letters 342-350 dated July 20th through July 22nd Summary & Analysis

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Letters 342-350 dated July 20th through July 22nd Summary

Miss Howe is very upset that Clarissa is ill, but she begs for a response to her letter about marrying Mr. Lovelace, since his family is so wonderful. She plans for a friend to speak to Mr. Lovelace personally about his inclinations to marrying Clarissa. Miss Howe would like to see Clarissa before she leaves to visit her aunt on the Isle of Wight, but Mrs. Howe has forbidden her to see Clarissa until Clarissa is Mrs. Lovelace. Clarissa assures Miss Howe that she is getting better but absolutely will not marry Mr. Lovelace. Clarissa encourages her friend to seek her own happiness and not worry about Clarissa.

Mr. Belton's health declines rapidly, and his mistress and children will not allow him to enter his own house even though he is dying. Mr. Belford intends to help him. Mr. Lovelace believes Mr. Belton is stupid for letting Thomasine manage his estate. Mr. Lovelace never trusted her and thought her unfaithful. Mr. Lovelace offers to drown Thomasine, her lover and her sons.

Clarissa believes Mr. Belford is involved with her clothes selling so quickly and refuses to sell more. Widow Lovick sells some of Clarissa's lace for fifteen guineas. Clarissa and her doctor argue about his fees because he asserts that some visits are more social than professional, but Clarissa insists on paying him for every visit. They agree on his accepting a fee every other visit.

Mr. Lovelace meets with Mr. Hickman, who informs him that Miss Howe believes Mr. Lovelace's letter was rather gay, and she wants to know if he is in earnest about marrying Clarissa. Mr. Hickman refuses Mr. Lovelace's request to talk to Miss Howe personally. Mr. Lovelace condemns himself and praises Clarissa, but complains of a horrid figure she allows to court her—Death. Mr. Lovelace is very concerned about Clarissa's health.

Clarissa writes Arabella to request that Mr. Harlowe renounce his curse. John Belford laments the implacableness of the Harlowes, but Clarissa rebukes his taking the liberty of criticizing her family. Mr. Belford wishes her forgiveness would extend to Mr. Lovelace, but Clarissa refuses to discuss that subject, saying she has written Miss Howe about it. She refuses all Mr. Belford's offers of assistance. When Clarissa tells her story to Widow Lovick and Mr. and Mrs. Smith, they all lament her misfortunes and condemn Mr. Lovelace. John Belford tells Mr. Lovelace that he hates him more each hour he spends with Clarissa, but Mr. Lovelace insists that no one can hate him more than he hates himself. He loves Clarissa more with each passing day. He plans to go to a ball at Colonel Ambrose's house on Monday, where Miss Howe, Mr. Hickman and, maybe, Arabella are expected.

Letters 342-350 dated July 20th through July 22nd Analysis

Miss Howe expresses doubt of Mr. Lovelace's word by planning to have a friend speak to him about his intentions toward Clarissa. She announces her trip to visit her aunt on the Isle of Wight ,which foreshadows that trip rather explicitly. Mrs. Howe forbids Miss Howe to see Clarissa until Clarissa is Mrs. Lovelace. This foreshadows Miss Howe never seeing Clarissa again, since Clarissa will never be Mrs. Lovelace. Mr. Belton's rapidly declining health parallels Clarissa's illness. Clarissa's refusal to sell her clothes when she believes Mr. Belford is involved, as well as her disagreement with the doctor over his fees, emphasizes her unwillingness to be beholden to anyone. Clarissa requests that her father renounce his curse, which parallels the many other requests that she has made to her family and is repetitious. Clarissa rebukes the freedoms that John Belford takes with her family, which parallels her chiding Miss Howe for the same.

Mr. Hickman refuses to agree to allow Mr. Lovelace to speak with Miss Howe personally indicating that he does not trust Mr. Lovelace and reminding the reader of Mr. Lovelace's threats against Miss Howe. It also foreshadows Mr. Lovelace's pursuance of Miss Howe at Colonel Ambrose's ball. Mr. Lovelace's description of a gaunt, ghastly man that Clarissa allows to court her is an allegory for Death, alluding to her illness. Mr. Lovelace's declaration that no one can hate him more than he hates himself foreshadows his depression and madness after Clarissa's death. His plans to attend the ball at Colonel Ambrose's house foreshadow his determination to speak with Miss Howe.

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