Clarissa's grandfather dies and leaves her, the youngest female, a large estate (compared to others) because he liked her the most. The family realise that she needs to be married off to a man good enough to run such an estate and who would be great to have connections with, so they decide on Roger Solmes, who Clarissa despises. As this is happening, Lovelace (a man of questionable standards) declares interest in Clarissa and leaves her sister, Bella, to seduce her which ends in a fight to the death with the eldest brother, James - Lovelace wins, injuring James. At Clarissa's refusal to marry Roger Solmes her family decide to lock her in the house until she complies but she manages to sneak out secret messages to her dearest friend, Anna.Clarissa Or A History Of A Young Lady was Samuel Richardson's last novel and told entirely by letters between various characters.It's also the longest novel in the English language (making it number five behind four French novels). Published in 1747-8 and part of the public domain can be read here for free.There was a television adaption in 1991 starring Sean Bean as Lovelace and Saskia Wickham as Clarissa.
Abhorrent Admirer: Roger Solmes, the man the family wants to pair Clarissa up with. He is the full package : not only considered unattractive by the object of his admiration, but also selfish, greedy, and bent on not taking no for an answer.
Despite her obvious interest in him, it is clear that, had she not been put into extremities by her family, her stalker would have remained this. Lovelace is one of the most horrible examples of Handsome Devil ever.
Abusive Parents: Mr Harlowe was intended as a father who used his daughter's duty to be obedient without upholding his duties not to be an evil dictator. His abuse was probably considered something commonplace, but sad and cringe-worthy. Mrs Harlowe may have been intended as a victim, but to a modern reader, she often seems like a Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds or a WangstyManipulative Bastard, and with her obsession with getting obeyed by her daughter and pleasing her husband, she sometimes comes across as a plain Troubled Abuser.
Accomplice by Inaction: The heroine's mother and her aunt look like this from a modern reader's perspective because they never oppose the father when he does his best to force the heroine into an arranged marriage. Richardson seemed to partially agree, at least for the good aunt Hervey, whom he describes in the preface as "lacking the courage to go against so strong a steam, [and] sailing with it"
All Girls Want Bad Boys: Deconstructed. Clarissa's initial fascination with Lovelace wears off very quickly. And it took a long time to build itself.
Ambition Is Evil: Clarissa's family, and possibly Mr Solmes, who may want to marry her mostly for the money and lets her be pressured and bullied into accepting the match.
Arranged Marriage: Clarissa with Roger Solmes. While he is happy about this, she absolutely despises him and refuses marry him - meaning she gets locked in the house until she does.
Big Brother Bully: James is constantly rude to Clarissa but claims he's being over protective. This quickly gets out of hand and he and Bella are soon causing Clarissa serious harm.
Bella's mother begs Mrs Howe to refrain Anna from insulting Bella (worst sister ever to Anna's best friend). Mrs Howe's answer is full of possible Stealth Insult material. For instance: she says that she finds Anna's desire to visit her friend ridiculous because Anna's place is with her, her mother (Clarissa's abandonned her once she fled), and not with her poorexceedingly ill friend, a fallen angel bad example for all her virtues and great judgement. She then supposedly criticizes young people's romantic notions, and finally ends her letter with a postcript, in which she expresses her desire to bring Anna away to distract her minds from the sorrow of her ill friend, ending with this little gem :
The Resenter: Bella is this to Clarissa, because of her grandfather's will, which favors her, of the general preference her family shows her because she has self-control and a conventionally beautiful woman. There is also something about Lovelace because he spurned her and took interest in her younger sister.