Study Guide

Clarissa - Letters 370-394 dated July 28th through August 7th Summary & Analysis

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Letters 370-394 dated July 28th through August 7th Summary

Mr. Lovelace defends his conduct to Clarissa by citing greater breeches of honor in history and believes Clarissa denies him forgiveness because of Mr. Belford's awkwardness in his pleas. Therefore, he tells Mr. Belford to stop pleading in his favor, so Clarissa's resolve is not strengthened. He hopes that she can be persuaded to marry him and that she is pregnant. He is happy with Miss Howe's mediation and decides not to punish Miss Howe. He will be devastated if Clarissa dies. He is bored in the country and plans to return to town to see Clarissa.

Miss Howe congratulates Clarissa on being unable to join her pure heart with Mr. Lovelace's tainted heart. She praises Clarissa's virtues and urges her to try to improve her health. She assures Clarissa that Mr. Hickman will have no control over her friendships after they are married. Miss Howe and Mrs. Howe are eager to have Clarissa's entire story made available to them, but Clarissa does not know all of Mr. Lovelace's contrivances. She plans to ask Mr. Belford for a copy of Mr. Lovelace's letter in order to compile her story. She also plans to ask John Belford to be the executor of her will. Clarissa asks John Belford for copies of certain letters from Mr. Lovelace and tells him that she has a second request that depends on his compliance with the first. Mr. Belford agrees to give Clarissa extracts of Mr. Lovelace's letters as long as they are not used against Mr. Lovelace, and Belford assures Mr. Lovelace that he only gives Clarissa extracts that will not injure Mr. Lovelace. Clarissa requests John Belford be her executor and he agrees.

Mrs. Norton's son is recovering and Mrs. Norton informs Clarissa that her letter to her family has been answered but likely unsatisfactorily. She wishes Clarissa had died of fever in her innocent childhood. Mrs. Norton writes to Mrs. Harlowe to inform her that she has received a letter from Clarissa, and Clarissa has refused Mr. Lovelace, partially because she expects to die soon and does not want to give anyone the right to litigate over her grandfather's estate. Mrs. Harlowe fears Clarissa may be pregnant and informs Mrs. Norton that no one believes Mr. Lovelace will marry Clarissa. Mr. Harlowe has withdrawn his curse against Clarissa, and the family plans to send Mr. Brand to inquire about Clarissa's health. Mrs. Harlowe still loves Clarissa and would forgive her if left to herself. Clarissa begs Mrs. Norton not to take a step in her favor and mourns the idea of never seeing her parents again. Mrs. Norton offers to attend Clarissa at the risk of incurring the Harlowes' displeasure.

Arabella's letter states that Clarissa deserves everything that has happened and worse, but Mr. Harlowe has renounced his curse. She expresses doubt that Mr. Lovelace would marry Clarissa. The Harlowes mourn on Clarissa's birthday and wish she had never been born. Colonel Morden is expected any day. Clarissa assures Arabella that she blames herself more than anyone else does and her first unhappy birthday is likely to be her last birthday. She asks permission to write to her parents to request a last blessing. She does not expect to be received back into their favor; she only wants a last blessing to die in peace. Arabella writes very rudely refusing to forgive Clarissa. Clarissa writes to Mrs. Harlowe claiming she has been grieved from the moment she placed herself in Mr. Lovelace's power and only requests forgiveness from her parents in her last hours.

Miss Howe writes to Cousin Montague and Charlotte and provide Clarissa's refusal, quoting reasons from Clarissa's letters. Mr. Lovelace's family blames his conduct when they receive the rejection. Charlotte writes to Clarissa begging Clarissa to marry Mr. Lovelace for his soul's sake, but Clarissa refuses, saying she would not deserve the honor of being related to their family if she sanctioned Mr. Lovelace's actions by marrying him. Clarissa begs their assistance in preventing Mr. Lovelace from molesting her. Mr. Lovelace insists to John Belford that Clarissa must die as Mrs. Lovelace. Mr. Belford finally completes handling Mr. Belton's affairs and returns to town to find Clarissa in worse health. He insists that Mr. Lovelace not molest her. Lady Betty, Lady Sarah, Cousin Montague and Charlotte cannot argue with Clarissa's rejection and they all, including Lord M, evade Mr. Lovelace's presence in anger. They beg Clarissa to accept a quarterly allowance as proof of their love for her.

Letters 370-394 dated July 28th through August 7th Analysis

Mr. Lovelace asks Mr. Belford to stop pleading in his behalf, which foreshadows his intent to visit Clarissa. His avowed devastation if Clarissa dies foreshadows his madness at her death. Clarissa's intention to ask John Belford for extracts from Mr. Lovelace's letters to use to compile her story foreshadows Mr. Belford's involvement in the compilation and is cause for the belief that he is unofficially the writer of the novel. His insistence that the extracts not be used to injure Mr. Lovelace proves his loyalty and friendship. Mrs. Norton proves her condemnation of the Harlowes by her assumption that their letter to Clarissa will prove unsatisfactory. Mrs. Norton's wish that Clarissa had died of a fever in childhood, along with Clarissa mourning the idea of never seeing her parents again, foreshadow Clarissa's death.

Clarissa does not want to give anyone the right to litigate over her grandfather's estate, which is evidence of her love for her family. The renouncement of the curse foreshadows the Harlowes' forgiveness. That the Harlowes' fear Clarissa may be pregnant parallel Mr. Lovelace's hope and proves repetitious as each inquire of Clarissa whether it is possible. The doubt expressed by Arabella about Mr. Lovelace being willing to marry Clarissa is repetitious. The Harlowes sorrow on Clarissa's birthday; Clarissa stating that her first unhappy birthday will likely be her last birthday, and her requesting a last blessing all foreshadow Clarissa's death. Mr. Lovelace's family condemns his behavior to Clarissa proving their love and reverence for her. Clarissa's fear of Mr. Lovelace is expressed by her hope that his family will prevent him from molesting her

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