Pamela Questions and Answers
by Samuel Richardson

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Provide your commentary on letter III from Samuel Richardson’s Pamela. Refer to specific themes expressed and point out specific lines to elaborate on the discussion of the chosen themes.

In letter III of Pamela, Pamela's attempt to allay her father's fears shows the theme of class distinctions, as it is unlikely that the employer and housekeeper would concoct a plot against a young woman of higher socioeconomic stature. The letter also underscores Pamela’s naiveté and virtue, underscoring the central theme of Virtue Rewarded that is also the book's subtitle. Pamela “will die a thousand deaths, rather than be dishonest any way” or forfeit her “good name.”

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Samuel Richardson’s Pamela is generally thought to be one of the first novels written in the epistolary style. The plot is revealed entirely through the letters that Pamela herself writes. She writes to her father in letter III, trying to allay fears that he obviously outlined in his prior letters to her. The reader understands that Pamela’s father has cautioned her against her employer and the employer's housekeeper, who might want to take advantage of a girl from a lower income level. In addition to exploring the theme of class distinctions, Pamela reinforces the positives of virtue and negatives of dissolute living. For its time, it was considered extremely racy and titillating.

In letter III, Pamela assures her father about her “master's goodness” in an...

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