Study Guide

Clarissa - Letters 416-424 dated August 21st through August 23rd Summary & Analysis

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This section contains 640 words
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Letters 416-424 dated August 21st through August 23rd Summary

Mr. Lovelace goes to town immediately after sending his last letter to prevent John Belford from having time to dissuade him. When he arrives at Clarissa's lodgings, Mrs. Smith tells him that Clarissa is gone on a trip to the country at the doctor's request. Mr. Lovelace storms the house because he believes Clarissa is hiding from him. She is not there and the Smiths do not know exactly where she is or when she will return. He insists upon lodging there until she returns and follows them into the shop, where he clowns around, ingratiating himself with everyone. He leaves Clarissa a note begging for a half hour conversation with her and sends Will in disguise to spy on Clarissa's comings and goings. Mr. Lovelace returns to his lodgings at Widow Sinclair's, where he rebukes all the ladies and is furious at their disrespect to Clarissa.

Mr. Lovelace dreams that Clarissa is prevailed upon to marry him, but Colonel Morden flies through a window to murder Mr. Lovelace. Clarissa intercedes and angels descend to take her to heaven, while Mr. Lovelace falls into hell.

Will arrives with news that Clarissa returned to her lodgings very late and is very ill. When Mr. Lovelace returns to the Smiths' house, Clarissa is gone again and Widow Lovick tells him that her fear of seeing him gives her the strength to leave. Clarissa will not return while Mr. Lovelace is there and Widow Lovick and Mrs. Smith are sure that seeing him will hasten Clarissa's death. Mr. Belford is furious that Mr. Lovelace has broken his promise not to bother Clarissa and that Lovelace's visits drive her from her deathbed to avoid him. Mr. Belton is on his deathbed, and he and Mr. Belford mourn his approaching death, while Mr. Mowbray mocks their tears. Mr. Belton regrets his sins and hopes for Mr. Belford's reformation. Mr. Belford tries to comfort his friend, but they are both so immoral that it is difficult. Mr. Lovelace sees nothing wrong with Mr. Belton's prior actions and urges Mr. Belford to console him. Mr. Belford mourns Mr. Lovelace's lack of penitence since Lovelace's health has returned. Mr. Belton is haunted by his previous adventures, and Mr. Belford foresees a similar death for Mr. Lovelace. John Belford describes Mr. Belton's death scene, which is horrible, painful and haunted.

Clarissa sends Mr. Lovelace a letter that she is returning to her "father's house" and hopes for a reconciliation with her family. She insists that he cease molesting her and assures him that it will be his fault if she does not receive him once she is settled there. Mr. Lovelace is jubilant at this change of events. He assumes that she will now marry him and accounts for her change of mind by the hope that she may be pregnant. Mr. Belford suspects that Clarissa's letter is a forgery that Mr. Lovelace has concocted.

Letters 416-424 dated August 21st through August 23rd Analysis

Mr. Lovelace's attempts to see Clarissa are repetitious and his behavior at the Smiths' house insinuates that his penitence is not as sincere as he seems to believe. Clarissa's avoidance of Mr. Lovelace proves her deep fear of him and foreshadows her speedy death due to his molestation. Mr. Lovelace's dream foreshadows Clarissa's death and his own death at Colonel Morden's hand. Belton's death scene parallels the later ones of Widow Sinclair and M'Donald's and serves as a paradox to Clarissa's death scene. Mr. Belford's reaction to Mr. Belton's death and penitence foreshadows his reformation. Mr. Belford's irritation at Mowbray's insensitivity foreshadows his break with the varlets. Clarissa's letter to Mr. Lovelace serves as an allegory concerning her death and her hope for his reformation. Mr. Lovelace's literal interpretation proves his immorality in opposition to Clarissa's extreme virtue.

This section contains 640 words
(approx. 2 pages at 400 words per page)
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