Thursday, March 01, 2012

Clarissa: Letters 7-10

Please leave links to your February Clarissa posts on JoAnn's blog.

The plot thickens

Clarissa is further harangued by her family to marry. A stay with her good friend Anna has been shortened as Clarissa is called home. I'm not sure exactly why the family is so intent on Clarissa being married, but it appears that this is driven by her two older (and single!) siblings. The elder family members (father, mother, aunts, uncles) allow this harangue and even play into it. I assume, at this point, that this push to marry Clarissa is a combination of "avarice and envy," as Anna so succinctly points out in her letter to Clarissa. Clarissa has been isolated from her friends, but she has found a way to continue both writing and receiving letters on the sly with her good friend Anna.

The characters develop

Clarissa definitely has backbone and a sense of independence, though her kind heart and generosity put her at a disadvantage in dealings with those of selfish and wrong intent. Anna puts it well:

"Depend upon it, whether you know it or not, you are a little in for't. Your native generosity and greatness of mind endanger you."

I fear that the family perception that Clarissa is meek (she is not meek but merely non-confrontational) will drive her to unnecessary and desperate action.

Anna is spunky and I like her. She recognizes the difference between herself and Clarissa:

"... I am fitter for this world than you, you for the next than me."

She is a good friend to Clarissa and is brutally honest in her desire to be helpful.

The scene

I had such a vivid picture in my mind of the scene with the entire Harlowe family against Clarissa. The smug, triumphant looks of some and the furtive, cowardly glances of others. Clarissa is left pleading on her knees at the feet of her father as he turns his back and walks away. Cruel scene.

Looking forward

I am curious to hear what the menfolk have to say for themselves. At this point I'm not very happy with any of them. Clarissa's brother is full of himself, her father is being driven by her brother's agenda, her uncles are toeing the line, and none of the so called suitors are worthy of Clarissa.


  1. It will be interesting to see what these men have to say for themselves. I assume we should hear from at least some of them soon. Anna is immediately likable and I'll be glad to read more of her letters, too.

    I'm a little confused as to why Clarissa must be married so quickly, but assume it must have something to do with money /property left by her grandfather.

  2. I think Clarissa has that inner strength that is not always noticeable in the meek. I think she will surprise everyone in the days to come.
    That was a cruel scene and I look forward to knowing more about the background to this drama.
    Should be an interesting March!

  3. I really liked that line from Anna as well. I suppose that's what makes Anna more interesting in the here and now. :)

    In Pamela, the men were portrayed pretty badly as well. Richardson was writing moral novels to teach young women how to behave, so I suppose he wanted to scare them off so they wouldn't be swayed by a young man looking to lead them to ruin.

  4. I've recently heard lots of wonderful things about Clarissa, and if I had a copy readily available I'd be tempted to join in with the readalong. Ah, well. I can always get to it later. :)

  5. I get the impression she has to get married quickly only so she is no longer a temptation to Lovelace.