Study Guide

Clarissa - Letters 447-459 dated August 29th through August 31st Summary & Analysis

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Letters 447-459 dated August 29th through August 31st Summary

Mr. Lovelace is angry about Clarissa's allegory and justifies his artifices by her letter. He agrees not to molest Clarissa but plans to visit friends, who live closer to town so that he can reach her more easily if she decides to see him.

Colonel Morden consoles Clarissa on her misfortunes, advises her to marry Mr. Lovelace and offers his services, begging to see her and replace her father, brother and uncles until the reconciliation is effected. Clarissa is happy to hear from her cousin but rejects Mr. Lovelace on principle, while insisting that he not be prosecuted or killed when her story is fully known. Clarissa's spirits are dejected by Colonel Morden inquiring about her when the rest of her family does not bother. A very ornamental coffin is brought upstairs, which Clarissa directs to her bed chambers, shocking everyone. She rationalizes this oddity by the necessity of being prepared so no one else has to bother, and she avers that the sight is not so shocking to someone so near death. Clarissa condemns her pride and vanity in her coffin but calls it her palace and hopes she will be buried with her family. The coffin has Bible verses scattered all over it, and her date of death is inscribed as the date she left her father's house. Her death clothes also arrive and Clarissa expresses her pride in both.

Clarissa has two very severe fits and Mr. Belford is called because the doctor fears that a third will kill her. Mr. Lovelace asks Mr. Belford to beg the doctor to prolong Clarissa's life by at least a year and defends his levity by stating that he will cry if he does not laugh. Mr. Belford tells Mr. Lovelace that his humanity is too late because Clarissa's health worsens continually, and she is fast approaching death. She is too weak to leave the house. Clarissa signs her will, while her health worsens and death looms. The doctor is shocked by the coffin in Clarissa's room, which she uses as a desk since she is too weak to move much. The doctor decides to write Clarissa's father to inform him of her ill health. Clarissa arranges the particulars of her death with Mrs. Smith and Widow Lovick.

Miss Howe informs Clarissa that Mrs. Howe is very sick and she regrets her past pertness to her mother, fearing she will lose Clarissa and Mrs. Howe and swearing never to marry if she does. Mrs. Howe's health improves and Colonel Morden visits. Colonel Morden is working for reconciliation and has convinced Mr. Harlowe to agree to provide Clarissa with the accrual from her grandfather's estate, which will make Mr. Belford's job as executor easier. Colonel Morden refuses to leave England until he rights Clarissa's situation. Miss Howe prepares Colonel Morden for Clarissa's appointment of John Belford as her executor and provides Clarissa's reasons. Clarissa is happy about her father's intentions to provide her with the arrears to her estate because she disposes of those monies in her will. She hopes her family will not be too upset with her will. She comforts Miss Howe in the prospect of Clarissa's death and praises her acknowledgment of her past pertness to Mrs. Howe.

The Harlowes invite Mrs. Norton to a family meeting where Colonel Morden reads some of Clarissa's letters to Miss Howe and pleads for reconciliation. Everyone is moved but James instigates problems. Arabella agrees that Mrs. Norton should attend Clarissa, but James is angry and refuses Clarissa any favor. James and Colonel Morden argue and Colonel Morden blames James for all of the Harlowes' hardheartedness. Mrs. Norton pleads that Clarissa does not ask to be received; she only requests a last blessing. Everyone agrees to allow Mrs. Norton to attend Clarissa, but James states he will never return to Harlowe Place if Clarissa is received. Once again, Colonel Morden and James argue and the rest of the Harlowes defend James. Colonel Morden declares he will adopt Clarissa as a daughter until they learn her value, and she will inherit everything he owns. He quits the Harlowes, planning to see Clarissa, and says that since James is more to blame for Clarissa's ruin than Mr. Lovelace, James is lucky they are kin. The family resolves against Colonel Morden and Clarissa, and revokes their permission for Mrs. Norton to attend Clarissa. Mrs. Harlowe and Mrs. Norton mourn over Clarissa's illness. The Harlowes, excluding James and Arabella, want to reconcile with Colonel Morden and Mrs. Norton believes that the reconciliation may be negotiated to include Clarissa. Mrs. Harlowe suggests that Clarissa put herself in Colonel Morden's protection and discontinue her relationship with John Belford. Miss Howe plans to go to London next week to buy wedding clothes and intends to visit Clarissa.

Letters 447-459 dated August 29th through August 31st Analysis

Clarissa's rejection of Mr. Lovelace is repetitious. Clarissa's planning for her death and her pride in her coffin and her death clothes foreshadow her happy death. Her hope that she will be buried with her family foreshadows her reconciliation with her family and their permission for her to be buried in the family vault. Repetition is used throughout this section to emphasize Clarissa's declining health, which foreshadows her death. The doctor's decision to write to Mr. Harlowe foreshadows the reconciliation. Miss Howe demonstrates her love for Clarissa by comparing the loss with the potential loss of her mother, Mrs. Howe, during Mrs. Howe's illness. Mr. Harlowe agrees to provide Clarissa with the accrual from her grandfather's estate, which foreshadows the execution of Clarissa's will. Arabella convinces the family to agree to allow Mrs. Norton to attend Clarissa before they all become angry at Colonel Morden and revoke the permission. This foreshadows Arabella's eventual visit to London. The Harlowes' desire to reconcile with Colonel Morden foreshadows the reconciliation with Colonel Morden and Clarissa. It is also ironic because they are so hesitant to reconcile with a much nearer relation (Clarissa).

This section contains 1,015 words
(approx. 3 pages at 400 words per page)
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