Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier
Author information Rebecca Daphne du Maurier • Major works • The Loving Spirit, 1931 • I’ll never be Young Again • The Progress of Julius, 1933 • Gerald: A Portrait • She is one of the most popular authors of her day • Wrote over 14 novels almost all best sellers • There is an award called Daphne Du Maurier award for excellence, it is for novels based on mystery and suspense • Literary fame as author of traditional historical romances
Setting • The book takes place in Europe in a hallowed mansion called Manderley • It takes place in 1938 when it was written
Characters • The Heroine- narrator we never know her real name she is she, self concious, young woman who marries Maxim de Winter • Rebecca- while alive beautiful, much loved wife of Maxim de Winter, now a ghost that haunts the mansion and her presence torments the mistress • Maxim de Winter- cultured, intelligent older man, in the beginning we think he lost his wife so he is sad over it but we later find out that he committed her murder • Mrs. Danvers- the house keeper devoted to Rebecca despises the Heroine for taking Rebecca’s place
Literary elements • Was published in 1938 • Classic novel of gothic literature • An atmosphere of mystery and terror • The weather was based off the characters’ moods (it was rainy the night Rebecca was murdered • This book overall was very dark and dreary
Plot summary • Rebecca’s narrative takes the form of a flashback. The heroine lives in Europe with her husband, Maxim De Winter. A dark cloud hangs over their marriage Maxim’s first wife Rebecca drowned in a cove the previous year and now her ghost haunts Manderely. Rebecca’s devoted housekeeper, the sinister Mrs. Danvers, is still in charge of Manderley and she intimidates the mistress. The Mistress soon feels that her husband is still in love with his ex wife and she can’t compare. Manderely hosts a costume ball every year and the gala is soon to take place. The ball ends in a disaster Mrs. Danvers’s suggestion she wears a costume that it turns out is the same dress that Rebecca wore at the last ball. When Maxim sees the Heroine he is terrified, the Heroine soon becomes convinced that Maxim is still devoted to Rebecca. The following day Mrs. Danvers almost convinces her to kill herself, she breaks away from the spell when rockets go off over the cove, signaling that a ship has run aground. Divers find the wreckage of Rebecca’s sailboat with the body. This prompts Maxim to tell the truth Rebecca was a wicked woman, who lived a secret life and carried multiple affairs including one with her cousin Jack Favell. On the night of her death, Maxim demanded a divorce, she refused and told him that she ws pregnant with Favell’s child. Furious he shot her and sailed out to the harbor and sank Rebecca’s boat with her body inside. The revelation restores their marriage and shakes the burden of Rebecca’s ghost off. Justice starts to reach Maxim. They find that the boat has drill holes at the bottom the coroer delivers a report of suicide rather than murder. Favell is certain Rebecca didn’t kill herself, accuses Maxim of the crime. Another investigator finds the day of her death Rebecca went up to see Doctor Baker. They think they will prove that she was pregnant which would cause Maxim’s motive for her murder. It turns out that she was dying of cancer, she was infertile she lied about her pregnancy. Her illness proposes a reason for her supposed suicide . Maxim soon finds out that Mrs. Danvers had disappeared. Once they arrive back at Manderely they find it in flames.
critique • I really enjoyed this book but when I first got it I didn’t realize that it was going to be gothic. I thought that it was going to be more of a romance. The ending really caught me by surprise though with Maxim killing Rebecca. Also when we find out that Rebecca really isn’t pregnant she is dying from cancer. It was very mysterious but kept my attention