Study Guide

Clarissa - Letters 500-506 dated September 10th through September 15th Summary & Analysis

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Letters 500-506 dated September 10th through September 15th Summary

Colonel Morden arrives at the mournful house to find Arabella in tears and Mrs. Harlowe inconsolable. Uncle Antony tries to comfort Mrs. Harlowe and Uncle Harlowe but is overcome with grief himself. Even James is subdued. Colonel Morden pities the family and curses Mr. Lovelace. All blame themselves and each other, but ultimately everyone's gaze rests on James. Arabella regrets her severity, while Mrs. Harlowe mourns the loss of her most meritorious child and her lack of maternal care while she was dying. Colonel Morden assures them that Clarissa died happily, blessing them all and condemning none. The hearse conveying Clarissa's corpse arrives and is followed by at least fifty villagers, who argue for the honor of taking Clarissa into the house. Six maidens carry it into the hall, where everyone enters to mourn and bless Clarissa. The Harlowes' family servants mourn silently, and Uncle Harlowe is stricken dumb in grief. Clarissa's corpse is taken into the parlor where Mrs. Harlowe grieves horribly, and Mr. Harlowe states there was never a sorrow such as his. Mr. Harlowe attempts to console Mrs. Harlowe but turns and leaves the room. Aunt Hervey is unable to read the inscriptions on the coffin through her tears. Arabella is worried to learn that Mrs. Norton is so sick that she was left at an inn on the journey. Colonel Morden attempts to comfort them all and claims that Clarissa's only fault is her overindulging forgiveness for her family.

The coffin lid is unscrewed and everyone gathers around to praise and mourn Clarissa. Betty is the most tearful servant. James vows revenge against Mr. Lovelace and expresses discontent with Mr. Belford as Clarissa's executor. Reverend Doctor Lewen's assistant, Mr. Melvill, is appointed to preside over Clarissa's last rites. Mr. and Mrs. Harlowe defer seeing Clarissa until the next day, and Miss Howe requests to see Clarissa early the next morning alone. Miss Howe mourns and raves at her last farewell to her best friend. She wants Clarissa to wake up, but she wonders why Clarissa was not brought to her. She asks for a copy of the emblems on the coffin and a lock of Clarissa's hair. She inveighs against men and laments that the best part of her own soul is gone. She avoids seeing the Harlowes. Mr. and Mrs. Harlowe attempt to see Miss Howe but they cannot. They blame themselves for Clarissa's death.

Clarissa's posthumous letter to Mrs. Norton, offering comfort and her blessing, has increased her spirits and her health is much improved. Colonel Morden plans to open Clarissa's will after her last rites are performed. Clarissa's parents do not attend her last rites but there are many other mourners. Everyone praises Clarissa and many blame the Harlowes. Mr. Mullins and Mr. Wyerley, Clarissa's previous suitors, are very grieved. Mr. Hickman goes unnoticed until a great expression of emotion as her corpse is removed. Clarissa's coffin is deposited at her grandfather's feet, and Colonel Morden intends for his corpse to lie next to Clarissa. Colonel Morden warns Mr. Belford that James intends to write him to request he relinquish his executorship. John Belford considers attending Clarissa's last rites incognito but is content with Colonel Morden's descriptions. He details the step he has taken so far in pursuance of Clarissa's will and insists that he will not relinquish his executorship. James writes to Mr. Belford and requests the he relinquish the executorship to Uncle Harlowe and Uncle Antony because of his intimacy with Mr. Lovelace. He promises that the family will act according to Clarissa's will.

Letters 500-506 dated September 10th through September 15th Analysis

The Harlowes' behavior provides proof of their remorse and foreshadows their future unhappiness. The many villagers who follow Clarissa's corpse and the many mourners at her funeral show how well she is loved. Miss Howe's last farewell is moving and foreshadows her immense grief. James' letter foreshadows his complaints concerning Clarissa's will, while John Belford's declaration to Colonel Morden that he will not relinquish his executorship foreshadows his refusal to do so.

This section contains 691 words
(approx. 2 pages at 400 words per page)
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