Study Guide

Clarissa Religion

By Samuel Richardson

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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. 

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