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Rebecca, a novel by Daphne Du Maurier, first published in 1938, has often been described as a mixture of the romance, the gothic and the murder mystery genre. I, personally, do not think that it is one single genre, but all three, the gothic, romance and mystery (not murder mystery), just at different sections of the plot. I think the first part of the book, when the future Mrs De Winter first has the pleasure of meeting Maxim and experiencing ‘the fever of first love’ (Chapter 5, after the narrators outing with Maxim and when she realises she is in love) is the part most suited for the romance genre.
I also think romance is the genre when the narrator finds out Maxim murdered Rebecca and feels exceptionally relieved, and their flame is almost ‘rekindled’. This ‘flame relighting’ or even lighting for the first time, is best explained in these quotes, from just after the revelation of Rebecca’s true cause of death; “I knelt there by Maxim’s side, my body against his body, my hands upon his shoulders, and I was aware of no feeling at all, no pain and no fear, there was no horror in my heart.
” Also; “Then he began to kiss me. He had not kissed me like this before. I put my hands behind his head and shut my eyes. ‘I love you so much,’ he whispered. ‘So much'”. It was ‘romantic’ because, even though the narrator had found out her husband was a killer, she did not care, but felt tension leave her body, feeling no hatred in the slightest. A typical romance novel would include two characters falling in love, getting married, experiencing ‘problems’ and finally them getting along happily and live happy ever after.
I think this is the basic plot for most novels, except where the hero or heroine die, and it is very similar to the basic relationship outline for the De Winters. I think that ‘Rebecca’ the novel, could be classified as a typical ‘Cinderella story’, the narrator goes from being fairly poor, a companion, almost slave, to snobby Mrs Van Hopper to marrying a rich man and becoming mistress of a large mansion, Manderley. From rags to riches, this plot-type is very common in novels with a romance genre.
I think the second genre to best describe ‘Rebecca’ would be the gothic genre. Apart from the fact that gothic and romance are often paired genres, I think ‘Rebecca’ has the common features that the gothic includes. The gothic is all about terror, mystery, ghosts, spirits, usually a haunted house, castle or mansion and secrets. I think a lot of these ‘gothic factors’ are included in the plot, but in a different kind of way. For example; “I feel her everywhere” and “Do you think the dead come back and watch the living?
“. Mrs Danvers said these lines to Mrs De Winter, after giving her a forced tour of Rebecca’s rooms and drawers. These lines are creepy and terrify the narrator. Mrs Danvers suggests that Rebecca has come back as a ghost/spirit to watch them, although there is no real ‘haunting’ or appearance of ghosts. Rebecca still seems to ‘be’ at Manderley still, which I think is as effective as having a ghost turning up and scaring people, even more so because the setting is then made eerie and secretive.
I think the third and final genre is mystery, because although we do not suspect from the beginning that it was a murder, but we do know that Manderley and its inhabitants, past and present, are shrouded in mystery. I think it is first suggested as being a mystery, is n the opening chapter. Manderley is ‘secretive and silent’, and the narrator is talking affectionately about it, but then realising she no longer knows the house she once loved. Although, there is no mention of what happened at Manderley, who she is and why she has not been there for so long.
I think the mystery genre is all about unanswered questions arising and secrets being kept. The narrator is always been given comments such as; “You are so very different from Rebecca” and “But of course you know all about that. ” When in fact the narrator had no idea what Rebecca was like and what she “knew” or was supposed to know. The complete mystery of who Rebecca was and the past events are uncovered slowly by the narrator in the book. In conclusion, I think ‘Rebecca’, the novel by Daphne Du Maurier, is an ensemble of the mystery, the romance and the gothic genre.
This is because it is a romance (between Maxim De Winter and the narrator), surrounded by a mystery (Rebecca) based on the gothic (the feeling of being watched, secrets being kept and a murder). In my opinion, although these are three very different genre’s on their own, that Daphne Du Maurier has made them work exceptionally well together. Megan Newstead 9P1 Show preview only The above preview is unformatted text This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Miscellaneous section.