is full of dreams that give us clues into our favorite
characters' internal states. Check it: before deciding to run away with
Lovelace, Clarissa dreams the dude "carried me into a churchyard; and
there, notwithstanding all my prayers and tears, and protestations of
innocence, stabbed me to the heart, and then tumbled me into a deep grave ready
dug, among two or three half-dissolved carcasses" (84.3).
Gruesome. There's definitely some foreshadowing going on
with all this dream imagery, and Clarissa knows she should be paying attention
to it. After all, she knows perfectly well that Lovelace has a rep for ruining
girls' reputations. Those "half-dissolved carcasses" don't bode too
well for our serial seducer. Still, it's telling that Clarissa can't help but
keep the correspondence with Lovelace going. The dreams tell her everything she
needs to know, but she still can't get enough of her boy.
Livin' on a Dream
Lovelace's dreams could definitely use some Freudian
analysis. Usually, the guy manages to keep his emotions on lockdown, but his
bad deeds come back to bite him when he hits the sack. In fact, we know that
Clarissa thinks that nightmares are a divine punishment: "By God's grace I
shall be easier tomorrow, and especially if I have no more of his tormentings,
and if I can get a tolerable night" (440.10). All we have to say is: if
Clarissa thinks she deserves nightmares, what do you think Lovelace deserves?