What's up with everyone wanting to keep Clarissa locked up? She's
got a tighter curfew than a sixteen-year-old who's just wrecked the family car.
Unfortunately, unless our girl is escaping from somewhere, she's always under
lock and key. Even when she's at Mrs. Moore's or Mrs. Smith's, she's being carefully
monitored by someone. Whether it's a friend or foe, Big Brother is always
is really the History of a Young Lady, as the subtitle implies, there's a lot
more going on with this freedom and confinement thing. After all, it's not like
young ladies in Richardson's time got to go roaming around with the freedom a
Lovelace might have. In some ways, this is the story of how Clarissa learns to
navigate spaces that most respectable women wouldn't dare enter. The irony is
that she isn't free when she wanders into and out of brothels and boarding
houses. Not to be a downer, but there's just no way out for Clarissa.
Questions About Freedom and Confinement
Does Clarissa feel more confined in her family home or when she's with Lovelace?
How does Clarissa get up the
courage to escape from Lovelace? Does she have any support from anyone?
Where does Clarissa have the most
freedom? Does she ever get to experience freedom before her death?
Are the other ladies in the book
confined by social conventions, or is Clarissa the only one under lock and key?
Chew on This
Belford doesn't so much liberate Clarissa as confine her in
When Clarissa runs away with Lovelace, she's at least partly
willing. It may be another form of confinement, but at least it feels a little
more like freedom.