Rebecca is a classic, suspenful, and romantic novel written by Daphne du Maurier. It tells the tragic and emotional story of how the memory of a woman named Rebecca haunted the lives of newleweds Maxim and Mrs. De Winter, and their estate of Manderly. The story opens in Monte Carlo, France and later moves to a small town outside of London. In a hotel in Monte Carlo, France, a young, simple servant girl, who at first remains nameless is acquainted with Maxim de Winter, a wealthy man who owns the estate of Manderly outside of London, England.
She falls deeply in love with him, and the two are wed abroad. Upon their return to Manderly, the new Mrs. de Winter is instantly enchanted by the exterior beauty of the estate, and can’s hardly wait to be the Madam of the house. She is introduced to the staff of the house, and her impression of them is very well, except for Mrs. Danvers.
Mrs. Danvers had been the personal maid of Maxim’s deceased wife, Rebecca, and she had been quite fond of her. Mrs. de Winter is constantly being compared to the late Mrs. de Winter, and this makes the new Mrs. de Winter quite uncomfortable, as Mrs. Danvers makes each day a challenge to survive; as well as distancing her from her husband, who she believes is still thinking of Rebecca, and still in love with her. One day, the mystery of Rebecca’s death is revealed by Maxim.Order now
He tells his wife the truth: Rebecca didn’t drown to her death, Maxim murdered her. Instead of the angel she was percieved to be, she was rather a devil, who cheated on Maxim with her first cousin, and never loved Maxim from the start. A body is soon found by the shores of Manderly: Rebecca’s body. There are suspicions that Maxim killed her, and an inquest is carried out.
He was almost caught, but Maxim’s name is eventually cleared. As he and Mrs. de Winter return from the inquest in London, they watched Manderly burn to the ground. The first aspect of the novel that appealed to me is the modest character Mrs. de Winter. Her manner is very humble and reserved. She appears to be the un-authoratative type of person, as she doesn’t do what pleases her, only others: “Oh, well… let me see, Mrs. Danvers, I hardly know; I think we had better have what you usually have, whatever you think Mrs. de Winter would have ordered. ”(pg. 2) She is also very young in the story, young enough to be Maxim’s daughter.
This explains her shyness in conversations with Maxim’s relatives and many friends, as well as her feeling of inferiority to people of better breeding than her. Mrs. de Winters is a developing character in the story, and she is much altered when Maxim reveals the truth of Rebecca’s death. Her naive and young nature is gone as she is entangled in the web of Rebecca’s evil ways, and Maxim realizes that her innocence is now gone: “I can’t forget what it has done to you… It’s gone for ever, that funny, young, lost look that I loved…
I killed that too, when I told you about Rebecca… you are so much older.. .”( pg. 313) Mrs. de Winter never lost her feelings of hope, and optemism through the novel. She always found the ‘bright side’ of things and situations, especially regarding her marriage with Maxim. She had faith that in time, Maxim would love her as she loved him, and of course he had all along. It had only been her feelings of insecurity that inhhibited her from realizing this.
She was always willing to mend their marital problems: “It’s not too late… I love you more than anything in the world…”(pg. 80) It is interesting that Mrs. de Winter doesn’t have a first name, but her character is the most interesting. Setting was of particular interest, because it enhanced the events which took place. The estate of Manderly is by far the most appropriate place ever imaginable for “Rebecca”.
The detailed description painted the perfect picture of an elegant and romantic mansion surrounded by mystery, adding a lot of interest. Manderly is a beautiful house that is surrounded by a breath-taking garden and a scenic beach: “A thing of grace and beauty, exquisite and faultless, lovelier than I had ever dreamed… ossy lawns, the terraces sloping to the gardens, and the gardens to the sea.. .”(pg. 91) The setting is key in the story, because of the way Rebecca died. She was supposed to drown in the waters by Manderly, and without a beach in the story, this wouldn’t have been possible.
The secrecy of Rebecca’s life was effective in this setting, because it showed how Maxim wanted to seperate his past life with Rebecca from his new life with Mrs. de Winter. Maxim ordered the rooms in the west wing of the hoouse to be locked up, because that is where Rebecca stayed: “They used to live in the west wing and use those rooms when Mrs. e Winter was alive. ”(pg. 81)
All parts of Manderly play an important role in the story. For example the beautiful garden takes an active role when Mrs. de Winter is taking Jasper, the dog for a walk; and when she and Maxim are enjoying their tea outside. The setting of Manderly surely adds a lot of interest to the plot. A final literary aspect that was enjoyable was the point of view. Mrs. de Winter is the narrator in “Rebecca”, and this adds a special insight to the events which took place, from her position as the new Mrs. de Winter. In reading the book, we experience the events alongside her.