Letters 28-31 Summary

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Clarissa is upset with her friend Anna for criticizing Clarissa's family. Although Clarissa believes Anna has just cause to judge her family, she does not appreciate Anna taking the same liberties no matter how much her family punishes Clarissa.

She also refuses to take any legal action against her father, as Anna has suggested, to gain access to the inheritance she received from her grandfather. Clarissa says that she would rather do without the money than hire a lawyer and file suit against her father.

Clarissa's anger does not last long, however. She says that Anna is the only friend she can turn to. She is the only counsel she has left. Clarissa also remembers that in a vow of friendship, both she and Anna made a pact always to be completely honest with their emotions when sharing information with one another.

Then Clarissa tells Anna about two letters she has sent, one to her brother James and the other to her sister Arabella. To her brother, Clarissa has written that it is not her intention to displease him or her father. However, she challenges her brother to answer why he is treating her more as a stranger and a servant than as a sister and a friend. She argues that one of James' stated reasons for his opposition to Mr. Lovelace is the fear that Lovelace would treat Clarissa unfairly. Clarissa points out that Lovelace would probably not be any more cruel than James is being toward her.

Clarissa next states that she cannot understand why James insists that she marry Solmes. Why does she not have the right to turn down a suitor? She reminds James that he has turned down women he did not want to marry. Why should she not have the same right?

James' response is to tell Clarissa that her impertinence intensifies with each letter. He calls her a conceited preacher. James claims that Clarissa is blinded by her love for Mr. Lovelace. If she should indeed decide to marry him, she can consider that she no longer has a brother. Clarissa's letter to her sister receives a similar reaction. Arabella says that she refuses to respond to any more of Clarissa's accusations against her.

Clarissa discovers that Lovelace attended her parents' church on the next Sunday and was bold enough to turn and stare at the members of the family. Although Mrs. Harlowe acknowledged Lovelace, Mr. Harlowe and James did not. If Lovelace appeared at church for her benefit, Clarissa writes, he was totally wrong in his assumption as his presence only stirred the family to hate him more and to be more convinced that Clarissa was in love with him.

The next letter in this section is written by Mr. Lovelace to his friend, John Belford. In this correspondence, Lovelace declares his love for Clarissa, calling her an "angel." He claims he has never met a more challenging or charming woman. He is determined to win her. His intentions are tinged with a sense of revenge, however. He says he will make James Harlowe crawl on his knees to him once Clarissa becomes a part of the Lovelace family.

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Letters 21-27 Summary