Study Guide

Clarissa - Letters 351-369 dated July 20th through July 27th Summary & Analysis

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Letters 351-369 dated July 20th through July 27th Summary

Miss Howe writes Arabella to inform her that Clarissa is very sick and tormented by Mr. Harlowe's curse. Arabella replies that Clarissa should allow Mr. Lovelace to be her comfort in her illness, although the Harlowes do not believe his offers to marry Clarissa. She condemns Miss Howe's resentment of the Harlowes' treatment to Clarissa. Miss Howe insults Arabella calling her ill-natured and says the liberties in criticizing were reciprocal, but she did not mean them officiously. Miss Howe further states that she will not say all she could against the Harlowes but if her fears are realized, Arabella will hear all of Miss Howe's mind. Arabella wishes Miss Howe happiness in a prudent mother but declares that Mrs. Harlowe had too good an opinion of Clarissa to think such watchfulness necessary. Arabella disclaims any fault in Clarissa's unhappiness, blaming it on Clarissa and "somebody's" advice. Miss Howe accuses Arabella of being jealous of Clarissa. Miss Howe admits that Clarissa saved her from making an imprudent decision but implies that Clarissa saved Arabella likewise. Mrs. Harlowe sends copies of these letters to Mrs. Howe and complains that these are not the only liberties that Miss Howe has taken in criticizing the Harlowe family, though Miss Howe does not know how they suffer from Clarissa's disobedience. Mrs. Howe is very offended and chides Miss Howe. She informs Mrs. Harlowe that she had banned Miss Howe's correspondence with Clarissa until Miss Howe's health was affected. She was forced to use compulsion against her daughter to prevent her from running away to London to tend to Clarissa's illness.

Clarissa asks Miss Howe not to be so severe concerning the Harlowes. Miss Howe defends the freedoms she takes with the Harlowes because they deserve them. Clarissa writes Arabella to request that Mr. Harlowe absolve his curse, but Clarissa does not even hope for reconciliation because she would be too ashamed to approach them. She urges the curse to be revoked concerning the afterlife, since the temporal part has been fulfilled already. Mrs. Norton informs Clarissa of the letters between Miss Howe and Arabella and the uproar they caused. The Harlowes believe Miss Howe has Clarissa's sanction for Miss Howe's abuse and do not believe anything they hear about Clarissa through that channel. They had planned to have Mr. Brand inquire about Clarissa during his next journey to town, but they now revoke that request. Clarissa fasts on her birthday.

Miss Howe prepares for her journey but desires to hear that Clarissa's health is improving before she leaves. She begs Clarissa to rethink marrying Mr. Lovelace. Miss Howe advises Clarissa to be careful about broadcasting their affairs for their reputations' sake if they do marry. Although Clarissa believes Mr. Lovelace is innocent of her arrest and in earnest about marrying her, she would rather die than marry him because she fears his evil would bring a curse on any children they may have together, and she is simply too proud to accept someone who has abused her the way Mr. Lovelace has. Clarissa insists that Miss Howe inform Charlotte of her refusal. Mr. Hickman visited Mr. Lovelace and may visit Clarissa before he and the Howes go to the Isle of Wight. Clarissa hopes to see Mr. Hickman and urges Miss Howe to make him happy sooner rather than later. Mrs. Howe accepts an invitation to Colonel Ambrose's ball, which forces Miss Howe to go, though she would prefer to spend one hour with Clarissa than attend all possible diversions. Miss Howe tells Clarissa that Mr. Lovelace arrives at Colonel Ambrose's ball, admits his maltreatment to Clarissa and begs to speak with Miss Howe. After much harassment, Miss Howe listens to him in the presence of Mrs. Howe and Mr. Hickman, and Mr. Lovelace insists that he loves Clarissa and is repentant. They all believe Clarissa should marry him, and Miss Howe insists that Clarissa reconsider before giving her answer. Clarissa is not surprised at Mr. Lovelace's behaviorm since he had the audacity to attend the ball knowing the guest list, and she persists in her refusal. She promises to forgive Mr. Lovelace's offenses against her if he never bothers her again.

Mr. Belford condemns Mr. Lovelace for blaming Clarissa's illness on her family and the arrest. He also condemns Mr. Lovelace for blaming Clarissa's sale of her clothes on pride. He blames Mr. Lovelace for throwing himself into company with Miss Howe and Arabella. He sends a copy of Clarissa's meditation and reflects on the Bible and finds himself ashamed of his life. Clarissa's health is indifferent. Widow Lovick sold a suit of Clarissa's clothes at half their worth to her benefactress, who Mr. Belford condemns as a thief. Clarissa asks Mr. Belford to return Mr. Lovelace's letters to him and will not listen to the pleas on Mr. Lovelace's behalf. The apothecary advises Clarissa to write less to improve her health and claims that her illness is due to a lack of hope. Mr. Hickman arrives and Clarissa is overjoyed. She insists Mr. Belford stay, but Mr. Hickman treats John Belford coldly, Belford leaves Mr. Hickman and Clarissa alone together. Mr. Belford returns the next morning to breakfast with Mr. Hickman, and Clarissa and finds Mr. Hickman much nicer. Mr. Hickman is pressing, with Miss Howe's authority, Clarissa to remove to a neighboring farmhouse while they are abroad. Clarissa promises to consider but doubts she will move, since London has more churches. The apothecary assures Mr. Hickman that Clarissa will recover if she takes better care of herself. Mr. Hickman and Mr. Belford go to a coffeehouse, where Mr. Hickman tells of Mr. Lovelace's behavior at the ball and during their interview. Mr. Belford likes Mr. Hickman and blames Mr. Lovelace's pride for Lovelaces's dislike of Mr. Hickman. Mr. Hickman informs Mr. Belford that Miss Howe will not marry him while Clarissa is unhappy. Mr. Hickman is moved by Clarissa's blessings on his marriage to Miss Howe and fears he will never see Clarissa again.

Letters 351-369 dated July 20th through July 27th Analysis

The Harlowes' disbelieve that Mr. Lovelace will marry Clarissa is repetitious throughout this part of the novel, as is Miss Howe's resentment of the Harlowes' treatment toward Clarissa. Miss Howe's threats to tell Arabella her whole mind if her fears are realized alludes to and foreshadows Clarissa's death. Arabella's wish to Miss Howe for happiness in a prudent mother alludes to Miss Howe's favorite beau not being approved of by Clarissa or Mrs. Howe. She also accuses Miss Howe in advising Clarissa to elope causing her unhappiness. Clarissa's request that Miss Howe not be so severe in her condemnations against the Harlowes is repetitious and foreshadows the further discord that results from Miss Howe's interference. Clarissa's request that her father absolve his curse is also repetitious.

Clarissa's virtue is proven in her shame to approach her family if given the opportunity. Clarissa's unhappiness is epitomized by her fast during her birthday. Miss Howe's urging Clarissa to marry Mr. Lovelace and Clarissa's adamant refusal are repetitious. Clarissa prefers death to marrying Mr. Lovelace, which foreshadows her death. Mr. Lovelace proves his gay character at the ball but also convinces Miss Howe of his penitence and love for Clarissa. Mr. Belford condemns Mr. Lovelace for blaming others when most of Clarissa's misfortunes are his fault. This foreshadows everyone blaming Mr. Lovelace. Mr. Belford's shame at his life when reflecting on the Bible foreshadows his reformation. Clarissa's illness is caused by a lack of hope and she doubts she will remove to the country because churches are more abundant in London. Both of these foreshadow Clarissa's death.

This section contains 1,294 words
(approx. 4 pages at 400 words per page)
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