Rebecca Notes Essay
– Gothic: terror, mystery, supernatural, ghosts, haunted houses and Gothic architecture, castles, darkness, death, decay, doubles, madness, secrets and hereditary curses. – Physiological thriller: characters are reliant on their mental resources, whether it is by battling wits with a formidable opponent or by battling of equilibrium in the character’s own mind. – Subversion of romance: sets up the conventions of a romantic genre then slowly subvert or undercut/demolishes our expectations.
– Crime: crimes, their detection, criminals, and their motives. The novel is written first person by the narrator, who is never named within the book, and can be considered an ‘unreliable narrator,’ because everything is shown through her ‘unreliable narrative’ ? ‘she’ is persecuted, ‘she’ is inadequate, ‘she’ has an inferiority complex and ‘she’ is haunted by Rebecca. The narrator dreams twice, once in the beginning and once in the end, which conveys the truth that her conscious mind cannot.
In the beginning of the novel the most evident genres are Gothic and anti-romance, but as the novel progresses the genres crime and physiological thriller appear more often. There is the continuity of reference back to gothic, but in the last 7 chapters, it is it dominated by more of the crime genre. Rebecca is dominated by the Gothic genre throughout the whole novel because of the continuous presence of Rebecca and the overshadowing Manderley. Even in the end, seems to have risen from the dead to have her final revenge ? through Mrs Danvers and the burning of Manderley.
•In the very beginning of the book, the narrator introduces us to Manderley as an empty “inviolate, untouched”, cold “no smoke came from the chimney”, mysterious place “desolate shell, soulless at last, unhaunted” •Whenever Rebecca’s name is mentioned Maxim de Winter seems to become excessively emotional •The rhododendrons, “blood-red and luscious” – symbolic of Rebecca •Mrs. Danvers seems very mysterious, “deathly cold,” “skeleton” and “lifeless” •The constant references back to Rebecca “I was sitting in Rebecca’s chair, I was leaning against Rebecca’s cushion.
Even though the Gothic genre is the most dominant genre there are also the secondary genres: Physiological thriller – mystery and ‘crime of the death of Rebecca, the continuous haunting of Rebecca on the narrators mind, also the continuous irony of how right after the Manderley dress ball Rebecca’s body is found Crime – the formal inquest is held and Maxim’s committed murder and his motives are shown •The past in opening chapters is itself a mystery – why is Manderley a ruin?
•Unclear as yet but Rebecca’s death a mystery, which seems to affect everyone at Manderley… who was she? •Narrator feels like she doesn’t belong “This was their routine…long custom” ? caught in an alien world of tradition. •Rebecca’s presence in the household still evident ? makes the narrator feel like an intruder •Keeping alive the spirit of Rebecca “the room was filled with them” ?
people keep putting more flowers into the room like Rebecca used to •The irony of how Rebecca who had died a year ago is discovered again right after the Manderley ball “Rebecca, whom they describes as beautiful, talented… having drowned a year ago, and then Maxim marrying again the following spring, bringing is bride straight to Manderley and giving a big fancy dress ball in her honour..
the following morning the body of his first wife being found trapped in the cabin of her sailing boat, at the bottom of the bay. ” “Both papers used the same word, ‘ironic’ . Yes, I suppose it was ironic. It made a good story. ” Subversion of romance – the narrator expects to be whisked away to a grand big house ‘Manderley’ and be loved and grow old with Maxim for the rest of her life, but everything doesn’t go as she expected or what we expected.
•She expects to grow old and live happily with Maxim for the rest of her life and she will always be loved by Maxim “We should grow old here together, we should sit like this to our tea as old people, Maxim and I, with other dogs” •She thinks Maxim asked her to marry her because he loved her, but in fact he just need a ‘companion’ and Mrs Van Hopper seems to know exactly what would happen “you know why he is marrying you, don’t you?
You haven’t flattered yourself he’s in love with you? ” Themes: The themes are ambiguous but some can be identified Marriage – the 1st marriage was fake ? controlled ? ‘arragont’ – the 2nd marriage was submissive ? better then the 1st Obssesion of Rebecca •Narrator •Maxim •Mrs Danvers •Favell Control/insecurity Death – the effect on the living and the consequences of causing death.