Monday, January 02, 2006


Something has happened in Clarissa! Lovelace has--gasp!--tricked her into running away with him! It only took until page 370! Lovelace is either very patient, very desperate, or maybe a little of both to put up with Clarissa's dithering for that long. Of course Clarissa is shocked--shocked!--at Lovelace's betrayal and is living in a state of denial that her family will forgive her and take her back. Silly, silly girl. I've decided that Clarissa's problem is that she thinks her virtue will shield her from everything. Being polite and letting Lovelace know in person that she can't run away with him is more important than her personal safety. She can't imagine that the scoundrel would do anything to tarnish her reputation. She can't imagine that anyone would do anything to tarnish her reputation. It's the same with the piece of property her Grandfather left her. Instead of claiming it and moving there as an independent woman when she had the chance, she didn't want to make waves in the family so relinquished control of it to her father. Now look where it's gotten her. She is a very proud woman and while she might be a very virtuous proud woman, both her pride and her virtue get in the way of her seeing what is really going on. She lives in a fantasy world of her own devising and is ever surprised when her fantasy and real life don't mesh. What's Samuel Richardson playing at with this story? Is it a tale about hubris? Is it an example of how ladies should be virtuous to their doom? Or is it a story about how an unwillingness to compromise one's integrity will get you squashed like a bug by the big bad world? I've got another 1,000 pages to mull it all over.