Study Guide

Clarissa Quotes

  • Lust

    I hope I shall be honest, I once more say: but as we frail mortals are not our masters at times, I must endeavour to keep the dear creature unapprehensive […] (104.7)

    Uh-oh. Lovelace is acknowledging early on that he doesn't feel like he's in control of his own desires. Run, Clarissa! (Moral #294 of <em>Clarissa</em>: lock those passions down, hoomans.)

    Now, as I am thinking, if I could pull her down a little nearer to my own level; that is to say, could prevail upon her to do something that would argue imperfection, something to repent of; we should jog on much more equally, and be better able to comprehend one another […] (118.11)

    Lovelace thinks he detects something like lust in Clarissa. Has he been watching "The Pickup Artist"? Or is there actually something less than perfect in our paragon of virtue?

    Thou, Lovelace, hast been long the <em>entertainer; </em>I the <em>entertained </em>(143.1)

    Ew. Belford is definitely living vicariously through Lovelace's seduction attempts, so we know that he's not entirely the virtuous guy he wants us to think he is. At least the guy is feeling guilty about it.

    But it is a strange perverseness in human nature that we covet at a distance what when near we slight. (150.5)

    Who says Anna and Clarissa don't understand lust? Here, Anna alludes to the fact that Clarissa might find Lovelace so attractive because she can't have it. If her family were shoving him in her face, he might lose some of that sexy sheen. 

    But having succeeded thus far, he cannot, <em>he says, </em>forbear trying, according to the resolution he had before made, whether he cannot go farther (157.1)

    Occasionally, the letters in <em>Clarissa </em>get glossed over by an anonymous narrator who wants to keep the plot moving. (Like maybe he could have glossed over some of the other 1500 pages?) In this case, it seems like the most dastardly things Lovelace says aren't his direct speech. What do you think is going on?

    And clasping her closer to me, I gave her a more fervent kiss than ever I had dared to give her before; but still let not my ardour overcome my discretion […]

    Lovelace is having a hard time keeping it under control, but he seems to kind of like the challenge. Hm, do you think maybe he likes the game more than the player?

    I hope there is not a man breathing who could attempt a sacrilege so detestable (180.1)

    Mrs. Norton isn't afraid to call a spade a spade. That is, she thinks lust (and sex) basically amount to sacrilege. Whoa, Nelly!

    These shy ladies, how, when a man thinks himself near the mark, do they tempest him! (224.6)

    Lovelace is an expert seducer, so he's all about finding novelty. Clarissa, more demure and shy than most of the women Lovelace has seduced, is his biggest challenge yet. Lust, or power? Or just a lust for power?

    It was with the utmost difficulty last night, that I preserved myself from the vilest dishonor. (230.1)

    Clarissa's description of Lovelace's seduction attempt is pretty straightforward, but it's a common plot device in Richardson's novels. The "bed trick," in which the beau hides out in his would-be lover's bed, also gets used in <em>Pamela</em>. Pro tip: beware of climbing into occupied beds? We guess?

  • Manipulation

    I knew that the whole stupid family were in a combination to do my business for me (97.4)

    Lovelace is a master manipulator. It's clear he's messing with Clarissa's mind, but do you think he's trying to hoodwink the rest of the Harlowe fam? Consider this: ruining Clarissa casts a shadow on the whole family, and he does have beef with her bro … 

    How different, how inexpressibly different, the gay wretch; visibly triumphing (as I could not but construe his almost rapturous joy) in the success of his arts! (98.4)

    This may be the first time Clarissa gets wise to Lovelace's evil plan. Even so, she keeps trusting the guy for a while. Either she's <em>really</em> naïve, or he's <em>really</em> good at manipulating her. 

    But when it came to my turn, I pleaded, I argued, I answered her, as well as I could—And when humility would not do, I raised my voice and suffered my eye to sparkle with anger […] (103.5)

    A lot of what Lovelace does is straight-up manipulation, but he's also got a violent streak. Even scarier: he's analyzing his own creepy behavior. That's the mark of a true sociopath. 

    Every possible objection anticipated! Every accident provided against!—Every tittle of it plot-proof! (131.2)

    Lovelace seems to devote every waking hour to seducing Clarissa. Dude <em>really</em> needs to get a hobby that doesn't involve seducing girls. Cool thing: notice that he says his plan is "plot-proof." Guess who else comes up with plots? That's right: writers. Maybe Richardson is the manipulator we should really be worried about. 

    Your beloved's honour is inviolate!—<em>Must </em>be inviolate! And <em>will </em>be so, in spite of men and devils (181.1)

    Anna reassures Mrs. Norton that Clarissa is basically immune to manipulation. If we take her word for it, then we have to think Clarissa heads to her fate with open eyes—because she thinks it's her best option. Pretty sad. 

    'Tis my pride to subdue girls who know too much to doubt their knowledge; and to convince them that they know too little to defend themselves from the inconveniencies of knowing too much (199.13)

    Okay, so Lovelace sometimes speaks in riddles. It's not just about tricking Clarissa—he also considers Anna to be fair game. And notice here that he doesn't want to seduce Anna; he just wants to take her down a peg or two. 

    So near to execution my plot! So near springing my mine! (224.2)

    It's hard to reconcile Lovelace's gloating with Clarissa's assessment that he's not that bad. Although he seems to occasionally treat Clarissa respectfully, he never really wavers from his evil goals. (Cue maniacal laughter.)

    He extorted from me a promise of forgiveness […] but if it were possible to escape from a wretch who, as I have too much reason to believe, formed a plot to fire the house, to frighten me almost naked into his arms, how could I see him next day? (230.1)

    It's ironic that the one time Lovelace doesn't plot something, it gets pinned on him. We never find out who started that fire, but Dorcas seems to be a prime suspect.

    But recollecting myself, am I again, thought I, in a way to be overcome and made a fool of!—If I now recede, I am gone for ever. (256.37)

    Let's not even touch how bizarre it is that Lovelace sees himself as some sort of victim. Could his entire motivation be to avoid being manipulated by a woman he loves? Or maybe—here's a radical thought—this is the big ol' problem with eighteenth-century marriage: when you make it into a business deal, then both parties are constantly trying to get the better bargain. 

    I am grown choleric and impatient, and will not be controlled (497.19).

    After Clarissa dies, Lovelace's issues get even worse. Positive outcome: at least it'll be harder to seduce other innocent girls. 

  • Guilt and Blame

    And I charge you, on my blessing, that all this my truly maternal tenderness be not thrown away on you. (16.28)

    Ah, the mother's guilt trip. While Mr. Lovelace storms and pouts, Mrs. Harlowe may have the more effective strategy—killing Clarissa with kindness.

    Leave me, leave me, Clary Harlowe!—No kneeling!—limbs so supple; will so stubborn! Rise, I tell you. (18.103)

    Clarissa's mom is onto something: while Clarissa's body is portrayed as weak and vulnerable, everyone knows her will is iron-clad. She's really laying on the guilt trip, here. 

    In what, my dear sister, have I offended you, that instead of endeavouring to soften my father's anger against me (as I am sure I should have done for you, had my unhappy case been yours) you should in so hard-hearted a manner join to aggravate not only his displeasure, but my mama's against me. (29.20)

    Ladies and gents, please observe how the blame game is done <em>right. </em>Clarissa butters her sister up, reminds her of her sisterly duty, and gets in a few jabs to finish it off. 

    You may justly blame me for sending my messenger empty-handed, your situation considered; and yet that very situation (so critical!) is partly the reason for it: for indeed I knew not what to write, fit to send you (87.2)

    Okay, so Anna is using the word "blame" in a pretty light-hearted context. Still, both Anna and Clarissa seem anxious that the other will blame her for her misfortunes. The girls both risk a lot for friendship. 

    Had I not to console myself that my error is not owing to wicked precipitation, I should be the most miserable of all creatures (101.2)

    Lighten up, Clarissa. Because our girl is so unlucky, she constantly has to remind herself that she's not to blame. Still, she manages to come across as feeling <em>really</em> guilty about the whole thing. 

    Is it prudent, thinkst thou, in her circumstances, to tell me, <em>repeatedly </em>to tell me that she is every hour more dissatisfied with herself and me? (108.3)

    Clarissa sure isn't shy about telling Lovelace off. Even though Lovelace doesn't think it's the best strategy, Clarissa's using every tool at her disposal to make him cease and desist—including blaming him for her ruin. 

    But you want to clear up things—<em>What </em>can you clear up? Are you not gone off—with a Lovelace too?—<em>What, </em>my dear, would you clear up? (144.3)

    Let's get this straight. Is Mrs. Hervey basically saying that Clarissa is out of options? What's with the major guilt trip? Oh right: no matter what happens to a woman in the eighteenth-century, you can assume that everyone else is going to blame her for it. 

    The affair is over. Clarissa lives (257.1)

    Notice anything, Shmoopers? While guilt and blame practically litter every other sentence, there's none of it in the most pivotal sentence in the book—when Lovelace confesses to raping Clarissa. Why do you think that is?

    But pray, miss, don't make my Nancy guilty of your fault, which is that of disobedience (296.3)

    This, folks, is what piling it on looks like. Mrs. Howe is pretty merciless in her take-down of Clarissa, particularly considering that it's the first letter after the rape. No sympathy here, just blame and shame. 

    I own, sir, that I have on all occasions spoken of your treatment of my ever-dear cousin as it deserved. (535.4)

    Colonel Morden is a gentleman through and through, even when he's accusing Lovelace of killing Clarissa. He sees himself as carrying out justice, but he doesn't get all dramatic about it. No histrionic guilt trips; just deadly sword play. 

  • Pride

    My mama, and all of us, like the rest of the world, talk of nobody but you on this occasion, and of the consequences which may follow from the resentments of a man of Mr. Lovelace's spirit; who, as he gives out, has been treated with high indignity by your uncles (1.9)

    We have to give it to Anna: she's dead on with this one. But she also just <em>might </em>be pumping up Clarissa's pride with all her talk about "the rest of the world" gossiping about Clarissa.

    He, with an imperious air, bid me deserve his love, and I should be sure to have it. (8.28)

    Looks like love isn't unconditional in the Harlowe family. Nope, Clarissa has to cater to her prideful bro's every whim before she gets his support.

    It was always my pride and my pleasure to obey you (16.46)

    Although this is totally an eighteenth-century expression, it does seem like Clarissa's proud of her obedience. What do you think, Shmoopers? Should Clarissa have been a little bit less proud about her virtue?

    And so a noted whoremonger is to be chosen before a man who is a money-lover! (32.41)

    Ouch! Uncle Antony tells it like it is. But we also get a glimpse into Harlowe family politics: greed beats out a scandalous reputation any day.

    I was going to speak with vehemence, but she put her handkerchief before my mouth, very rudely […] (53.36)

    This is what we'd call a big-time clash of wills, and we don't know whose is stronger: Clarissa's or her sister's. If you can't beat them, at least you can put your handkerchief over their mouth …

    They knew that if once you were restored to favour, love suspended would be love augmented, and that you must defeat and expose them, and triumph by your amiable qualities and great talents over all their arts (100.38)

    True or false, Shmoopers: is Anna correct about Clarissa's siblings' motives, or do they have just a hint of goodwill toward their sis? Could they be looking out for her in their own way?

    But the gentlemen, as they must be called in right of their ancestors, it seems; for no other do they appear to have (161.6)

    Clarissa can throw out some zingers when she wants to. Looks like her judgment isn't clouded by ancestry or wealth: Lovelace might be a gentleman by name, but he shouldn't take too much pride in that title. 

    We common folks have our joys, and please your honour, says honest Joseph Leman, like as our betters have (241.11)

    We don't often get to see the lower-class characters talking about pride in <em>Clarissa</em>—they usually do exactly what they're told. Here, Joseph seems to be telling Lovelace that they're really not all that different. Here, Joseph is insisting that he's just as much a person as Lovelace is. Crazy!

    But does she really believe she shall not long trouble us?—But oh, my Norton!—she must, she will long trouble us—for can she think her death, if we should be deprived of her, will put an end to our afflictions? […] (376.15)

    File this under "things Clarissa's mom will wish she hadn't said." It just goes to show how prideful Mrs. Harlowe is to refuse to see her dying daughter.

    I need not tell you, it seems, how desirous all the family are of the honour of an alliance with you; nor how exceedingly earnest the former is to make you all the reparation in his power (447.3)

    Colonel Morden is trying to salvage the Harlowe family pride by quickly marrying Clarissa to Lovelace, but he doesn't count on Clarissa's prideful refusal. Basically, she'd rather eat rocks than marry Lovelace. She has her own definition of pride, and it doesn't involve marrying her rapist. 

  • Principles

    The intention is, I tell you plainly, to mortify you into a sense of your duty (22.23)

    Daddy Harlowe thinks Clarissa is lacking morally, and he isn't afraid to tell her so. But we can't tell if he's just laying it on thick with the moral stuff in order to make her obey him, or if he really does think she's violating an important principle. 

    I should easily, I think, detect a hypocrite: and <em>this </em>man particularly, who is said to have allowed himself in great liberties, were he to pretend to instantaneous lights and convictions […] (36.24)

    Clarissa's B.S. detector is pretty good, and she catches on right away that Lovelace doesn't have much in the way of principles. Then again, she clearly thinks she can change Lovelace for the better, so maybe we won't take advice from her <em>just</em> yet. 

    She flies a thought that I can <em>less </em>dwell upon—a <em>cruel </em>thought!—but she has a poor opinion of the purity she compliments me with, if she thinks that I am not, by God's grace, above temptation from this sex (145.7)

    Okay, so Clarissa isn't above mere mortals. She's definitely attracted to Lovelace, but she's determined not to cave in and do something she'll regret. Too bad that her principles don't stand up to rape and drugging. 

    How many ruins has she prevented by attaching me to herself!—by engrossing my whole attention! (159.4)

    Lovelace is pleased as punch because he thinks Clarissa has prevented him from further mischief. But does it count if he's planning to do something extra-terrible? And do you really want to let your moral behavior be dictated by someone else?

    By your account of your wretch's companions, I see not but they are a set of infernals, and he the Beelzebub (164.6)

    Anna always sees right through Lovelace's schemes. Seems like she's subtly hinting that Clarissa's morals might easily be corrupted—even if she's the only one who thinks so. 

    He is constantly accusing me of over-scrupulousness (173.3)

    If we had to sum up Clarissa's approach to life in a word, "over-scrupulousness" wouldn't be a bad pick. Brain Snack: "over-scrupulousness" was a religious thing back in the eighteenth-century. It meant that you were just a leeeetle too concerned about following all the rules, and it was considered just about as bad as being a flat-out sinner. (Here's a modern look at it.)

    Indeed she was a little displeased with last night; because, on our return from the play, I obliged her to pass the rest of the night with the women and me, in their parlour, and to stay till near one (198.6)

    When Lovelace does something immoral with Clarissa nearby, her only recourse is to give him the silent treatment. A little juvenile, but it's a classic for a reason—at least she gets to stick to her principles, even in a slightly unprincipled way. 

    Now is my reformation secured; for I never shall love any other woman! (225.1)

    Lovelace is totally tongue-in-cheek here, even though it ends up being true. Too bad that it takes Clarissa dying to instill any principles in the guy. 

    Such an adorer of virtue to be sacrificed to the vilest of her sex; and thou their implement in the devil's hands for a purpose so base, so ungenerous, so inhuman! (258.4)

    Belford's got some major insults up his sleeve: not only does he consider Lovelace to be totally vile, but he thinks Clarissa is way out of his league—morally, at least. 

    We all know your virtuous prudence, worthy woman; we all do. But your partiality to this your rash favourite is likewise known (376.1)

    Although this seems like it could easily be addressed to Clarissa, it's Mrs. Harlowe telling Mrs. Norton to keep her nose out of family business. Clarissa's reputation for "virtuous prudence" is basically in shambles at this point.

  • Gender

    But how know I that I have not made my own difficulties?—Is she not a woman?—What redress lies for a perpetrated evil?—Must she not <em>live? </em>(256.25)

    Lovelace doesn't often consider the double standard for men and women, but he's definitely starting to figure it out. We'd give him props if he wasn't such a jerk.

    I am inexpressible concerned at the fate of this matchless lady! (258.2)

    Belford's all about stating the obvious. Lovelace has majorly screwed Clarissa's chances of having a normal life, even though the same actions haven't affected his reputation at all. 

    But you seem to be sensible enough of your errors now! So are all giddy girls, when it is too late—and what a crestfallen figure then does their self-willed obstinacy and headstrongness compel them to make! (296.7)

    Mrs. Howe really knows how to rub salt in a wound. Notice how she refuses to call Clarissa a woman? Seems like there's a difference between girls and women, as well as between women and men.

    We have an angel, not a woman, with us, Mrs. Smith! (349.13)

    After Clarissa's so-called ruin, her friends have to come up with new ways of talking about her. They still respect her, but their respect now goes beyond gendered expectations. She's so good she's not even human anymore. 

    But our sex are generally modest and bashful themselves, and are too apt to consider that, which in the main is their principal grace, as a defect; and finely do they judge, when they think of supplying that defect by choosing a man who cannot be ashamed (367.57)

    Anna's getting a little complicated up in here, so let's break it down: she thinks ladies are usually attracted to their opposites. Even more complicated: women are supposed to be angelically good, so does that mean that men are demonically bad?

    </em>It shall ever be a rule with me, that he who does not regard a woman with some degree of reverence, will look upon her, and occasionally <em>treat </em>her, with contempt (367.60)

    So what's the right thing to do: put women up on a pedestal? Anna seems to think so. But we have a major counter example in the form of Clarissa. If Lovelace hadn't idolized her, maybe he wouldn't have gone to such lengths to knock her down. 

    But to collect his character from his principles with regard to the sex in general, and from his enterprises upon many of them, and to consider the cruelty of his nature and the sportiveness of his invention, together with the high opinion he has himself, it will not be doubted that a wife of his must have been miserable […] (379.5)

    It's hard out there for a pimp—or a rake. Even if Lovelace wanted to settle down, he'd never be able to make a woman happy. Bad boys might be sexy, but they're no good as husbands. 

    Let me, our dearest cousin (we cannot deny ourselves the pleasure of calling you so), let me entreat you to give me your permission for my journey to London; and put it in the power of Lord M., and the ladies of the family to make you what reparation they can make you […] (384.3)

    It's pretty cool that the women in Lovelace's family step up to embrace Clarissa as their own, even when her own family rejects her. Or are they just trying to save face by pretending that some sort of marriage happened? (Also, contrast this to the women in Clarissa's family, who flat-out reject her.)

    But surely, Belford, the devil's in this lady! (395.5)

    Here's a change in Lovelace's tune. Although he's been calling Clarissa an angel, he abruptly slips back into his usual rhetoric of framing her as a recalcitrant woman when she won't do what he wants.

    But that, notwithstanding all her acquirements, she was an excellent ECONOMIST and HOUSEWIFE (529.29)

    Cool it with the all-caps, Anna. But it's kind of interesting how Anna praises the (deceased) Clarissa as the one thing she never truly got to be: a housewife.

  • Revenge

    There are people who love not your brother, because of his natural imperiousness and fierce and uncontrollable temper […] (1.6)

    James is the type to avenge himself for the smallest slight, so it's weird that he doesn't seem that bugged after Lovelace seduces Clarissa, right? What's up with that?

    How lately did I think I hated him!—But hatred and anger, I see, are but temporary passions with me (212.2)

    Clarissa's smart enough to cool herself down before taking any rash action. She knows it won't do much good to get hot and bothered—and she doesn't have much recourse for revenge, anyway. That's something only men seem able to do. 

    Then may I be accursed, if I willingly submit to be trampled under foot by enemies! (215.13)

    You have to hand it to Lovelace: he's done so many bad things that he's always waiting for the other shoe to drop. Live by the sword (<em>penis</em>), die by the sword, apparently. 

    What—what—what now!—bounding villain! Wouldst thou choke me! (224.7)

    Don't look now, but Lovelace is talking to himself. Okay, so he's talking to his heart—he's worried that it's not on board with his evil actions. Weird. It's almost like his heart is taking revenge on his body. 

    Had I been her brother, her violation must have been followed by the blood of one of us (258.5)

    It's a good thing Belford's not Clarissa's brother—or maybe it's too bad, because then Clarissa wouldn't have had to wait for an entire book to get revenge. The way Belford tells it, he only has to seek revenge if a blood relation is wronged.

    Oh Lovelace! Lovelace! Had I doubted it before, I should now be convinced that there must be a world after this, to do justice to injured merit, and to punish such a barbarous perfidy! (258.10)

    We don't get to hear much about how Lovelace will be punished in hell, but Belford's not afraid to take it to a dark place.

    I understand that thou breathest nothing but revenge against me, for treating thee with so much freedom; and against the accursed woman and her infernal crew (493.1)

    Lovelace is crying revenge to everyone, but he can't seem to take responsibility for his own awful actions. Maybe he should take revenge on himself, hm?

    Oh cursed by every careless devil!—May this or worse be their fate, every one of them! (499.15)

    Sounds like <em>someone</em> up there's got it in for Mrs. Sinclair. Before she peaces out, she makes sure to curse everyone in her brothel. You know, just for good measure. If someone's going to take revenge on her, she's going to make sure that everyone gets in on the revenge action. 

    Thou sayest thou wouldst have saved the lady from the ruin she met with (516.11)

    Lovelace wants revenge on Belford for failing to save Clarissa. Sure, dude, <em>that </em>makes sense. Since you're the one who ruined her and all that. 

    I have heard, with a great deal of surprise, that you have thought fit to throw some menacing expressions against me (534.11)

    Oh, Lovelace has heard correctly. After all this time, why is he so surprised that Morden wants revenge? Does he think Clarissa's family is just going to go, welp, our daughter is disgraced and dead, nbd?

  • Society and Class

    […]both Mrs. How and Miss, as matters stood, would much rather have excused his visits; but they had more than once apologized that, having not the same reason my papa had to forbid him their house, his rank and fortune entitled him to civility (7.9)

    Mr. Solmes is the kind of guy who no one would go near if not for his major moneybags. Fortunately, he doesn't seem to mind being loved for his money—and, fortunately, he's got a lot of it. More of him to love! 

    I ask this favor, therefore, for my reputation's sake, that I may be able to hold my head up in the neighborhood, if I live to see an end of the unmerited severities […] (22.22)

    Clarissa's a regular Olivia Pope: she knows that in order to manage her own reputation, she needs to look like a respectable lady.

    Are these steps necessary to reduce me to a standard so low as to make a fit wife for this man? (32.23)

    Basically, Clarissa is way out of Solmes's league. Just look at his letters! Clarissa couldn't possibly marry someone with the literacy of a twelve-year-old discovering the Internet for the first time. <em>

    If anything happens to delay your nuptials, I would advise you to remove: but if you marry, you may, perhaps, think it no great matter to stay where you are, till you take possession of your own estate (164.8)

    Clarissa has to be <em>very </em>careful once she's in Lovelace's power. Her reputation is still salvageable, but one misstep could make it go poof—and with it, all her family's attempts at social climbing. 

    What will the people below, who suppose us as one to the ceremony, think of so great a niceness? (227.2)

    Lovelace is definitely trying to take advantage of Clarissa's class-consciousness. As long as they pretend to be married, it's okay, right? Not so much. Clarissa is all about the substance and not so much about the appearance. 

    All my hope is find some reputable family, or person of my own sex, who is obliged to beyond sea, or who lives abroad […] (230.3)

    Clarissa's sure that her life in England is done for. Her only hope is to book it out of there and start over. Sounds romantic, eh? Not so much when you consider that she's talking about being a servant for the rest of her life. 

    Here, people cannot be happy by themselves, but they must involve their friends and acquaintance, whose discretion has kept them clear of their own errors […] (296.4)

    Mrs. Howe thinks Clarissa is a sinking ship, and she's taking down everyone with her. Pardon the pun, but that's a Titanic mistake.

    She says that the good of society requires that such a beast of prey should be hunted out of it; and if you do not prosecute him, she thinks you will be answerable for all the mischiefs he may do in the course of his future villainous life (317.5)

    Clarissa's in a bit of a pickle. If she prosecutes Lovelace for his crime, her story will be broadcast even further than it already is. Then again, Mrs. Howe seems to have a point. If they can get Lovelace off the streets, then maybe he won't hurt another woman. <em>

    She may—how can I speak it, and my once darling daughter unmarried!—She may be with child! This would perpetuate her stain (376.3)

    Clarissa's so-called indiscretion has already majorly impacted the family's social position. If she's knocked up, they fall even further. Luckily, she does the only thing she can do to fix the situation and dies. WHEW. 

    You see the fruits of preferring a rake and libertine to a man of sobriety and morals (402.6)

    Does Solmes really have morals, or does he just have money? It doesn't seem to matter, as long as he manages to convey the appearance of having a good reputation. 

  • Religion

    My present situation is such that I never more wanted the benefit of public prayers (22.22)

    Since her family is kind of a mess, Clarissa wants the community that church offers. Finally, a whole bunch of people rooting for her. There's a first time for everything!

    Dear creature! how fervent, how amiable, in her devotions!—I have got her to own that she prayed for me!—I hope a prayer from so excellent a mind will not be made in vain (159.2)

    It's pretty tough to tell when Lovelace is serious. Does he actually want Clarissa to pray for him? (And if you ask us, she should really be praying for herself.)

    […]but I was answered, that if there was no cause of fear at the playhouse, when there but two playhouses, surely there was less at church, when there were so many churches (198.9)

    We like it when Clarissa gets a little sassy! This seems like the equivalent of moral tit for tat: Lovelace does something bad and Clarissa heads straight for the nearest church to punish him for it.

    God convert you! For nobody but He and this lady, can (206.1)

    Lord M. totally thinks Clarissa can convert his nephew, even though he's never met the girl. Wonder why that is?

    I had often forbid her corresponding with the poor fallen angel—for surely never did young lady more resemble what we imagine of angels, both in person and mind (357.1)

    Clarissa is so other-worldly. Get it? Toward the end of the book, more and more people seem to think she belongs in heaven. What a coincidence! That's just where she's headed.

    We are taught to read the Bible when children, and as a rudiment only; and, as far as I know, this may be the only reason why we think ourselves above it when at a mature age (364.21)

    Belford is really trying to get his buddy right with God, here. Since Lovelace doesn't seem to be reforming on his own, Belford drops some not-so-subtle Biblical hints in his letters. That's rain on stony ground, friend. 

    My cousin Morden was one of those who was so earnest in his prayers for my recovery, at nine and eleven years of age, as you mention (377.8)

    Looks like Morden was always the pious type. Who would have thought that he'd grow up to be the guy who gets in duels?

    […] My sight fails me!—Your voices only—(for we both applauded her Christian, her divine frame, though in accents as broken as her own); and the voice of grief is alike in all (481.15)

    If religion gives Clarissa a community, her death unites everyone together one final time. She's literally created her own family. Of ghosts. 

    Bless—bless—bless—you all—and now—and now—(holding up her almost lifeless hands for the last time)—come—Oh come—blessed Lord—JESUS! (481.19)

    Clarissa's death scene is about as religious as they come. What do you think about the fact that she blesses everyone right before dying? We'd say it's a little Jesus-like—but that's just us. 

    But as if the devil (for so I was then ready to conclude) thought himself concerned to prevent my intention, a visit was made me just as I was dressed […] (499.2)

    After Clarissa's death, talk about the devil gets bandied about a lot more. It seems like Clarissa's death has made everyone feel a little edgy about what's waiting for them after they die. 

  • Freedom and Confinement

    Obstinate, perverse, undutiful Clarissa Harlowe! With a rejecting hand and angry aspect; then take your own way, and go up!—But stir not down again, I charge you, without leave, or till your papa's pleasure be known concerning you (22.38)

    Like a little kid, Clarissa is sent to her room when she misbehaves. Notice how her mom can't release her—only her dad has that power.

    It is hoped that as you must go, you will go cheerfully (50.6)

    Well, when you put it <em>that </em>way. Clarissa doesn't have much of a choice. <em>And </em>she's just supposed to grin and bear it. She isn't even free to express her feelings. 

    To be carried away this Thursday—to the moated house—to the chapel—to Solmes! (62.3)

    Although Clarissa never does get carried away to the moated house, it's a pretty good metaphor for how she's feeling: totally stranded.

    But I hurried up to my prison, in my return from my garden walk, to avoid him (86.15)

    If there was ever any doubt that Clarissa considers her house a prison—voila. But she'd rather be in prison than hang out with Solmes—that's an even worse form of confinement.

    Then they are less watchful, I believe, over my garden walks, and my poultry visits […] (86.18)

    Nature provides Clarissa with her only refuge from her house arrest. That, and chickens. (Brain Snack: in the eighteenth century, and for rural women throughout the nineteenth century, "egg money," or the money that women earned from selling eggs, was often the only money that they got to keep for themselves. Relevant? We think so.)

    At last your beloved young lady has consented to free herself from the cruel treatment she has so long borne (96.1)

    This is no ordinary jail-break. Nope, it's out of the frying pan and into the fire. Do you think that, in the end, Clarissa is glad she left with Lovelace, or would she have made a different choice if she were able to do it all over again?

    Oh no! she is in the next apartment!—securely mine!—mine for ever! (97.3)

    Sure sounds like Lovelace is planning to keep Clarissa for a while. But if she's not his wife, does he plan to make her his permanent mistress? We doubt it. Clarissa may be confined, but it doesn't seem like Lovelace puts any limits on his behavior. 

    Oh, for a curse to kill with!—Ruined!—Undone! Outwitted, tricked!—Zounds, man, the lady is gone off!—Absolutely gone off! Escaped! (228.1)

    Think Lovelace is upset? He can't seem to wrap his mind around the fact that Clarissa, his prisoner, has the resources and confidence to escape by herself. 

    I have escaped, Heaven be praised, I have! (230.2)

    Clarissa is pretty overjoyed to be free of Lovelace. Although her freedom is temporary, we can't begrudge her a little freedom dance.

    Those who arrested and confined me, no doubt thought they had fallen upon the ready method to distress me so as to bring me into all their measures (349.9)

    No mere house could confine Clarissa. Even her coffin-house can't confine her, since she's heading straight up to heaven to chill with all the other angels.