Study Guide

Clarissa - Letters 395-415 dated August 5th through August 20th Summary & Analysis

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Letters 395-415 dated August 5th through August 20th Summary

Clarissa responds to Lord M and the ladies of Mr. Lovelace's family rejecting their offer of an allowance and expressing her concern that they will have less control over Mr. Lovelace if he is banished from their presence. Mr. Lovelace complains that Clarissa's letter disappoints him and injures his pride. His family banishes him from their presence. He is very angry that Mr. Belford shows Clarissa extracts of his letters and declares that Mr. Belford will not be Clarissa's executor because no man but himself can ever be anything to Clarissa. He decides to write Clarissa and determines to visit her if she does not respond. Mr. Lovelace begs Clarissa for forgiveness and to marry him, promising that his future conduct will justify his present vows. He threatens to throw himself at her feet if she refuses. Mr. Belford tells Mr. Lovelace that Clarissa plans to write to avoid seeing him and reminds him of his promise not to molest Clarissa. Clarissa writes that writing is the lesser evil but she will never have Mr. Lovelace, though she wishes him happiness.

Clarissa receives a cruel letter from Uncle Harlowe and attempts to humble her pride to respond to it. Uncle Harlowe writes because Mrs. Harlowe cannot and does not want to. The Harlowes are miserable and do not believe Clarissa is as penitent or as sick as she claims. He questions if Clarissa could be pregnant. Clarissa responds that she did not ask to be received; she only wants the charity of a last blessing so she can die in peace. She is not happy with their unfair accusations, and, though she will be glad to receive a last blessing, she will never request it again. Uncle Antony condemns Clarissa for her pertness and insists that the family needs to know if Clarissa is pregnant before they consider forgiving her. Uncle Harlowe does not want to see Clarissa destitute and may provide her with part of her estate after she suffers a little more. Clarissa claims that her death will prove the veracity of her illness. She feels she has fulfilled her duty in requesting a last blessing, but she wishes her family had made less insulting inquiries about her.

Clarissa is planning her last will and testament. Miss Howe agrees with Clarissa's determination not to name a family member as her executor, but Miss Howe does not like have John Belford as executor. She actually does not relish the thought of the office existing at all. Clarissa forwards Miss Howe a packet of recent letters, excluding the severe letters from the Harlowes. A judgmental and conceited clergyman inquires of Mrs. Smith about Clarissa, praising her past and condemning her present. Mrs. Norton provides Clarissa with the newest gossip: Mr. Brand informs the Harlowes that Clarissa is not very ill and Colonel Morden arrives in England. Clarissa forwards her letters between the Harlowes and herself to Mrs. Norton and promises to send more when Miss Howe returns the letters she has received. Clarissa wishes that her mother had sent a maternal line and states she would be glad to see Colonel Morden, but she is afraid he will take the Harlowes' side in the matter.

Mr. Belford throws Thomasine, her lover and sons out of Belton's house. He promises that the extracts given to Clarissa are in Mr. Lovelace's favor but states he (Belford) is his own man and will act according to his own wishes as regards the executorship. Mr. Lovelace is very sick and suggests that Mr. Belford may be his executor as well. Mr. Lovelace requests that John Belford burn all Mr. Lovelace's letters. Mr. Lovelace insists upon seeing Clarissa, claiming her letter was only a deterrent if she satisfied him better in it. Clarissa is sorry Mr. Lovelace is sick and hopes he meets mercy that he has not shown, which touches Mr. Lovelace and reinforces his determination not to lose Clarissa. Clarissa believes Mr. Lovelace is penitent and Mr. Belford reflects on Clarissa being an innocent penitent, showing penitence when others are at fault. Mr. Belford has to visit Mr. Belton because he is on his deathbed. Mr. Belford begs Mr. Lovelace not to visit Clarissa because it will hasten her death. He warns Clarissa of Mr. Lovelace's intentions to lessen the shock. Lord M agrees that Clarissa should permit Mr. Lovelace one visit and Mr. Lovelace promises to behave dutifully.

Letters 395-415 dated August 5th through August 20th Analysis

Mr. Lovelace's immense pride is demonstrated by its injury at Clarissa's refusal. His determination to visit Clarissa foreshadows his trip to London and is repetitious of his earlier desire. Clarissa's correspondence with her cruel family is repetitious and is evidence of their distrust. It is ironic that Uncle Harlowe intends to provide Clarissa with part of her estate after she suffers a little more because this intention is fulfilled through her death, when the accrual of the estate is used to fulfill her will. Clarissa's planning her last will and testament foreshadows her death and shows her strength of mind. The clergyman's inquiries about Clarissa foreshadow his letter to Uncle Harlowe, which foreshadows the family's renewed hardheartedness. Clarissa's fear that Colonel Morden will take the Harlowes' side in the disagreement proves contradictory by his attempts at mediation. Mr. Belford refuses to agree to Mr. Lovelace's forbidding of Mr. Belford acting as Clarissa's executor, which foreshadows Belford's reform and his disengagement with the band of varlets. Mr. Lovelace's insistence on seeing Clarissa foreshadows his arrival in London, and Mr. Belford's warning Clarissa, along with her intense fear, results in her allegorical letter to Mr. Lovelace.

This section contains 958 words
(approx. 3 pages at 400 words per page)
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