Study Guide

Clarissa - Letters 425-438 dated August 24th through August 26th Summary & Analysis

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This section contains 656 words
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Mr. Lovelace mourns Mr. Belton's death but refuses to attend the funeral. Mr. Belford serves as Mr. Belton's executor and returns to town afterward to check on Clarissa, who is very ill. Arabella's letter has worsened Clarissa's health. Clarissa explains that her letter was an allegory to convince Mr. Lovelace to allow her to die in peace. Mr. Belford and Clarissa discuss Mr. Belton's dying behavior, and Clarissa urges Mr. Belford to reform. The doctor expects Clarissa to die in two to three weeks. Clarissa sells her clothes for funeral costs and prepares for her death.

Reverend Doctor Lewen writes to Clarissa declaring that she is less to blame than the usual participants in an elopement and urging her to overcome her modesty of testifying to prosecute Mr. Lovelace for his behavior. Clarissa replies that, even if she were healthy enough to prosecute Mr. Lovelace, her elopement and living under the same roof would act against her. She worries that if he was convicted, his family would obtain a pardon and he would enact worse mischief. Clarissa wants to die with forgiveness, not revenge. Arabella rebukes Clarissa for giving up on her request for a last blessing. The Harlowes encourage Clarissa to prosecute Mr. Lovelace, and, if she refuses, insist that she travel to Pennsylvania for several years before returning to possess her estate. Clarissa refuses to prosecute but agrees to go to Pennsylvania, if she does not die within a month.

The Harlowes' severity grieves Mrs. Norton, but she has found out that Mr. Brand informed the Harlowes that Clarissa privately receives a friend of Mr. Lovelace very often. Colonel Morden arrives, favors Clarissa, and argues with the Harlowes for mediation. He plans to find out from Mr. Lovelace if the offer of marriage is valid. Aunt Hervey visits Mrs. Norton and tells her that Aunt Hervey and Mrs. Harlowe love Clarissa and do not approve of James' influence and the family's hardheartedness. Dolly's request to visit Clarissa is denied. Clarissa is happy that her aunt loves her, but it is too late to comfort Clarissa. Clarissa worries about Colonel Morden's meetings with Mr. Lovelace and promises that Mr. Belford's visits will soon be explained. Miss Howe approves all of Clarissa's action. She tells Clarissa that her family loves Mr. Hickman, but she has been angry with him several times. Clarissa tells her to be nicer to Mr. Hickman and informs Miss Howe that Clarissa has received a letter from Mr. Wyerley renewing his addresses, proposing and promising not to marry another while Clarissa is alive and single. Clarissa thanks Mr. Wyerley for his good opinion, avers that she prefers the single life and tells him that his promise would concern her more if she did not believe it would not greatly affect him.


Clarissa's explanation that her letter was a farce foreshadows her explanation of her allegory. Clarissa urges Mr. Belford to reform, which foreshadows her influence, leading to his reformation. Clarissa's refusal to prosecute Mr. Lovelace shows her piety and forgiveness, as well as foreshadows her death. Arabella's suggestion that Clarissa move to Pennsylvania parallels Clarissa's earlier desire to remove overseas to avoid Mr. Lovelace. Clarissa's condition of removing only if she lives more than a month foreshadows her death. Aunt Hervey and Mrs. Harlowe's disapproval of James' influence foreshadows reconciliation. Clarissa's declaration that her aunt's love is too late to comfort Clarissa foreshadows her death. Colonel Morden's favoring Clarissa proves contradictory to her expectations, and is ironic because if he had arrived a little sooner, Clarissa may have lived. Clarissa's fear of Colonel Morden and Mr. Lovelace's meeting foreshadows their next meeting, which results in their duel and Mr. Lovelace's death. Mr. Wyerley's proposal proves his great love and reverence for Clarissa, while Clarissa's lack of concern about his promise not to marry while she is alive and single foreshadows her death.

This section contains 656 words
(approx. 2 pages at 400 words per page)
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