Study Guide

Clarissa - Study Guide Letters 477-499 dated September 7th through September 10th Summary & Analysis

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Letters 477-499 dated September 7th through September 10th Summary

Mr. Belford directs Mowbray and Tourville to go to Mr. Lovelace because he sends news that may prompt Mr. Lovelace to destroy himself. Mr. Lovelace is not happy at the idea of seeing his varlets and mourns the idea of an eternal separation from Clarissa. Mr. Belford encourages Mr. Lovelace to take a tour abroad. When Will delivers the letter acknowledging Clarissa's death, Mr. Lovelace attempts to shoot himself, but Will had the foresight to remove his weapons. Mr. Lovelace, Mr. Mowbray and Mr. Tourville travel to Mr. Doleman's house, where the other three varlets attempt to convince Mr. Lovelace that mourning a woman is foolish when there are so many other women. Mowbray writes for Mr. Lovelace, who is unable and desires to know the particulars of Clarissa's death. Mr. Mowbray does not see the difference between Clarissa and any other woman and is annoyed by Mr. Lovelace's folly, especially his ranting and raving that makes them fear Mr. Lovelace is going mad. Mr. Belford is sure Mr. Lovelace will recover his composure.

Mr. Belford is called to Clarissa's deathbed along with Colonel Morden, Mrs. Smith, Widow Lovick, Clarissa's nurse and Mrs. Smith's maid. Clarissa's comforts everyone's sorrow and expresses her happiness for the end of her sorrows. She blesses her mother, father, brother, sister and uncles. She forgives Mr. Lovelace and prays for Mr. Belford to be sensible of his sins. She blesses Miss Howe and Mrs. Norton. She blesses everyone in the room, nods her head six times to acknowledge everyone present, says, "O come—blessed Lord—JESUS!" and expires. They each kiss her lifeless hand and remove to the adjoining room to mourn. Colonel Morden excuses himself but promises to speak to Mr. Belford later. Mr. Belford suggests that if Mr. Lovelace's conscience is truly touched, time will alleviate his pain, but Clarissa forbid Mr. Lovelace to see her corpse. Mr. Belford mourns that three letters arrive too late to bring Clarissa joy. All the Harlowes agree to reconcile with Clarissa with no terms. They charge Mrs. Norton to attend Clarissa immediately with love from all of them. Clarissa is to return to Harlowe Place with Mrs. Norton as soon as her health allows. Arabella assures Clarissa that the family loves her more than ever and will never reflect on her error. Mrs. Harlowe will follow Mrs. Norton to London if Clarissa agrees. Uncle Harlowe wishes Clarissa health and regrets that the reconciliation took so long. He and Uncle Antony hope to see her soon.

Mrs. Smith and Widow Lovick arrange Clarissa's corpse according to Clarissa's instructions. Mr. Belford opens the parcel of eleven letters that Clarissa left and sends them to their appropriate recipients. He holds Mr. Lovelace's letter pending better health. Clarissa's letter to Mr. Belford begs him to compare her peaceful death to a sinner's death and rectify his life. She asks him to administer peace and prevent further mischief. Mr. Belford opens Clarissa's will and upon discovering her final wish to be buried in the family vault, Colonel Morden writes to James communicating this desire and requesting a quick response. Mrs. Norton arrives and faints when she hears the news of Clarissa's death. She mourns for and praises Clarissa. She hopes to follow her soon. Mr. Belford orders his mourning and advises Mrs. Norton to order her mourning. Colonel Morden and Mrs. Norton plan to accompany Clarissa's corpse back to Harlowe Place. Colonel Morden promises to write Mr. Belford minutely about everything that occurs.

Clarissa's letters to her father and mother express her love and blessings and ask for forgiveness. She expresses hope that Arabella's dutifulness will compensate for Clarissa's failures. Clarissa asks James for pity and forgiveness and to forgo resentment against Mr. Lovelace. She begs him to control his temper and ends with her blessing and her hope he will find a good wife. Clarissa asks Arabella's forgiveness and sends her blessing, love, friendship and the hope Arabella will find a husband. Clarissa sends love and her blessing to her uncles, and she considers her sorrow as punishment for pride. She sends love and her blessing to Aunt Hervey. She prays that Dolly will be guarded against delusions and thanks Dolly for her favor. Clarissa begs Miss Howe to rejoice that Clarissa's trial is at an end. She thanks Mrs. Howe and Mr. Hickman for their favors and regrets the trouble she has given them. Clarissa expresses her joy at Mr. Hickman as Miss Howe's choice and sends love and her blessings to both. She anticipates meeting Miss Howe in heaven.

The Harlowes are having a meeting about Colonel Morden's letter telling them how ill Clarissa is but they believe it is exaggerated to expedite the reconciliation. A messenger arrives with Clarissa's posthumous letters, which cause mayhem. Mrs. Norton has already left for town. The messenger arrives at Miss Howe's just in time to prevent someone from traveling to inquire about Clarissa. The messenger tells Miss Howe's maid to avoid telling Miss Howe himself, but the maid's grief is so great it attracts Mrs. Howe's attention. Mrs. Howe is greatly affected but worries how Miss Howe will react. Mr. Hickman is there and attempts to comfort Mrs. Howe through his own tears. When Mrs. Howe tells Miss Howe, who faints. James writes to express his shock at Clarissa's death and his indignation that everyone blames him. He refuses to allow Mr. Belford to act as Clarissa's executor. Mrs. Harlowe wants to see Clarissa one last time, so the family requests that the coffin only be screwed half way. James agrees to comply with Clarissa's wishes for her funeral as far as reasonable but without the intervention of strangers. Colonel Morden assures Mr. Belford that he will insist upon the exact performance of all Clarissa's wishes.

Mrs. Norton cuts some of Clarissa's hair to be set in rings according to Clarissa's will. Colonel Morden plans to make a locket with her hair. Clarissa's corpse is settled in the hearse and Colonel Morden and Mrs. Norton accompany it. Mrs. Norton is very ill.

Mr. Mowbray prevents Mr. Lovelace from going to town to have Clarissa embalmed. Lord M arrives to console Mr. Lovelace, who is in deep mourning. Mr. Lovelace declares that he is Clarissa's rightful husband, and he discharges Mr. Belford of his duty as executor. He plans to embalm her to preserve her from decay and bury her in his family vault between his parents. He wants to keep her heart with him always and demands a piece of her hair immediately. He intends to write Clarissa's history without sparing himself or the Harlowes. He swears he will never take another wife. Colonel Morden discovers that Clarissa's ruin was not the result of a seduction but rape and threatens to avenge her. Mr. Belford advises Mr. Mowbray to urge Mr. Lovelace to go abroad for his health.

Widow Sinclair falls and breaks her leg, and she is in danger from the bruises she received in the fall. She sends Sally to retrieve John Belford, and Sally is shocked when she hears of Clarissa's death and blames her part in the affair. Mr. Belford intends to go to church but is interrupted by ladies from Widow Sinclair's who relay her request to see him. He expresses his disgust with the whores and compares Widow Sinclair's chaotic deathbed to Clarissa's serene deathbed. Widow Sinclair mourns Clarissa's ruin as her worst sin. She fears death and hell. The other ladies lie and suggest she may live to prevent her wailing, but the doctors doubt she will live, and Mr. Belford will not lie to Widow Sinclair. She is shocked at the idea of her pending death and becomes hysterical. Mr. Belford leaves feeling that he has learned more about repentance than he would have at church.

Letters 477-499 dated September 7th through September 10th Analysis

Mr. Belford sends Mowbray and Tourville to Mr. Lovelace for fear that he will attempt suicide when he hears of Clarissa's death which foreshadows Mr. Lovelace's attempt to shoot himself which is fulfilled shortly thereafter. Many instances of foreshadowing throughout the novel are fulfilled in this section. Clarissa's death is fulfilled as is its peacefulness. Mr. Lovelace's ranting and raving indicates his madness and foreshadows his illness. Clarissa's deathbed juxtaposes Mr. Belton's deathbed and Widow Sinclair's deathbed serves as a foil to Clarissa's deathbed. Clarissa forbids Mr. Lovelace to see her corpse which indicates her desire not only to not see him but for him not to see her.

The arrival of the Harlowes' letter agreeing to reconcile is ironic since it occurs very shortly after Clarissa's death but too late as foreshadowed in Colonel Morden's last letter. Colonel Morden's agreement to write minutely to John Belford about everything that occurs at Harlowe Place indicates their friendship and a mutual desire to fulfill all of Clarissa's wishes. Clarissa's letters to her friends and family demonstrate her virtue and her piety in that she does not condemn anyone for the treatment she has received but sends love and forgiveness to all. The mayhem that ensues at Harlowe Place when Clarissa's death is announced proves that Clarissa is much loved. At the Howes' residence, even the maid is stricken with grief which proves how much Clarissa is loved by everyone there as well. James' indignation at everyone blaming him parallels Mr. Lovelace's refusal to accept blame for Clarissa's death. James' insistence that Mr. Belford will not act as Clarissa's executor foreshadows the letter he writes to this effect. His assurances that Clarissa's wishes will be followed "as far as reasonable" indicate that Clarissa's will would be discarded without the intervention of Colonel Morden and James.

Mr. Lovelace demonstrates his grief and madness by his declaration that he is Clarissa's rightful husband and by his plans for her corpse. Colonel Morden's threats to avenge Clarissa foreshadow his duel with Mr. Lovelace and Mr. Lovelace's death. Mr. Belford's disgust at the whores at Widow Sinclair's house and his feelings that he learns more repentance there than he would have at church foreshadow his reformation.

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