Skip to content

January 18, 2019


#Classic: Rebecca

by N@ncy



  1. Lovers:  Young girl met in Monte Carlo…(name?) and Max
  2. Family issue: reputation – Manderley must not fall into the hands of illegitimate heir
  3. Hook: Ch 1: mysterious, lyrical introduction about the estate of Manderley.
  4. Genre:  Gothic romance…later a thriller
  5. Focus: heroine, her fears of physical danger real? or just paranoia?
  6. Pivotal plot twist: Max’ confession
  7. Villain: Mrs. Danvers manipulative, cold, ruthless (arsonist!)
  8. Heroine Mrs. de Winter:  girl –>woman,  child bride –> mature wife
  9. Minor character who plays major role: Col. Julyan
  10. Symbol: sea (Rebecca) deceptive beauty and destructive force
  11. Symbol: rhododendrons (Rebecca)
  12. “..stood 50 feet high twisted and entwined with bracken…” (pg 1)
  13. …”a lilac mated with a copper beech…”(heroine and Max) (pg 1)
  14. …so different one is a shrub…the other a tree.
  15. Motif: Feeling of a ghost in the house.
  16. Du Maurier’s statement: ” Last night I dreamt  I went to Manderley again.” (iconic)
  17. Writing: very little information about heroine (no name!)
  18. Writing: frame story. begins at the end, moves into flashbacks
  19. Irony: We root for the criminal to escape punishment.
  20. Setting:  Manderley, Cornish Coast
  21. Major themes memory,  reputation, appearance vs reality
  22. Max still in love with Rebecca?...reality: he hates her.
  23. Mrs. Danvers loyal servant?…reality:  she terrorizes her mistress.
  24. Minor themesisolation, entrapment (second wife)
  25. Body count: 1


Why is Rebecca similar to Othello?

Chapter 23:

  1. ” All married men with lovely wives are jealous, aren’t they?
  2. And some of ’em just can’t help playing Othello.”


Heroine and Desdemona:

  1. Innocence can be dangerous, even fatal.
  2. The young wife considers suicide.
  3. Desdemona is killed by Othello because
  4. ….she is innocent
  5. thinking she can be friendly with other men and still
  6. remain loyal and honorable in her marriage.


Heroine and Desdemona:

  1. Desdemona and Mrs. de Winter
  2. …were both young wives married to
  3. …men 20+ years older.
  4. Both women think
  5. love is equivocal to submission.


Othello and Max:

  1. Othello and Max de Winter go to
  2. extremes to preserve their reputation
  3. they both kill!
  4. Othello —> Desdamona  is alleged of having an affair
  5. Max —> Rebecca tauted husband…expecting a child
  6. …pass it off as Max’ heir! (Manderley)


Othello and Max:

  1. Both men reject reason and clarity and rational thinking.
  2. They focus heavily on emotion and extreme passion.
  3. “Le crime passionnel”



  1. Book is titled Othello...but it is all about Iago!
  2. Book is titled Rebecca…but it is all about second wife, Mrs. de Winter!


Last thoughts:

  1. I had to ‘sleep on it’ to decide what I really thought of this book.
  2. I’m NOT following the herd on this one.
  3. The book was readable…in parts lyrical (ch 1)
  4. …but Du Maurier is not consistent.
  5. After two-thirds of the book
  6. …I finally got interested (Max’ confession).
  7. It is an average book that has
  8. …a cult following which keeps it on our radar.
  9. It started out so well.
  10. ..then it dropped below my endurance level.
  11. Dialogue was first person simple
  12. and Mrs. Danvers was predictable spooky.
  13. This easy classic read will
  14. always find its audience….just not me!
  15. I dare to be disliked while saying:
  16. the first bite was delicious….but
  17. it satisfies no craving.

Read more from Classic
6 Comments Post a comment
  1. Jan 18 2019

    Interesting comparisons! Did you like the book? It’s such a highly rated classic that is liked unanimously, wondering if it lived up to that for you?


    • Jan 18 2019

      Claire, I had to let my thoughts rest last night
      and was not ready to make a final call on this book.
      This morning I added ‘Last Thoughts. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Jan 18 2019

    Interesting, I agree it had something of a cult following, there’s even fan fiction written inspired by it. I enjoyed it probably because I find so many of the classics tiresome and this one doesn’t read as much like one expects a classic to. Prefer French women writer classics personally Sagan, Collete.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jan 18 2019

      Sometimes tiresome and challenging is a compliment about a book.
      It’s like climbing a mountain….hard work…but the view is terrific when you get to the top!
      What’s your next classic?


  3. Jan 22 2019

    I agree Nancy. Rebecca left me scratching my head, wondering why so many people raved about it. I had no intention of reading any more of her work, but then picked up a copy of Mary Anne on a holiday (a loosely based bio on one of her ancestors) which I loved reading as I toured our the English countryside.
    My Cousin Rachel was also an annoying/suspenseful/sometimes overwrought experience, but I enjoyed it far more than Rebecca.


    • Jan 23 2019

      I’m definitely not reading Du Maurier ….for a while. She does not appeal to me.
      I can’t put a finger on it….but I’d rather read Edna O’ Brian and even a Irish writer that has fallen between the cracks Jennifer Johnston (1930). I read Two Moons can see short review on Goodreads. Thanks for you comments!

      Liked by 1 person


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Note: HTML is allowed. Your email address will never be published.

Subscribe to comments

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: