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Du er her: Skole > Daphne DuMaurier's Rebecca-summary and author

Daphne DuMaurier's Rebecca-summary and author

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I’ve chosen to write about Daphne Du Maurier because I’ve heard about her works before and I found her writing very interesting. Daphne Du Maurier was born on May 13th, 1907 in London where she grew up with her father the actormanager Sir Gerald Du Maurier and her sisters. Daphne was born into an artistic family and educated at home where she wrote several short stories by the age of 18.
In 1931 she wrote her first novel “The Loving Spirit” who followed by many successful novels and plays, set on the wild coast of Cornwall where she lived with her husband Major-General Sir Frederick and their three children.

Daphne Du Maurier has written many famous novels like “Jamaica inn” in 1936, a tale about smuggling along the Cornish coast and “Rebecca” in 1938, the book that I’ve chosen. Daphne is given critical and popular acclaims for her novels where she shows uneven relationship between the sexes. Some of her novels especially “Jamaica inn “and “Rebecca” is turned into films directed by the famous Alfred Hitchcook.

Daphne has written several short stories where she interprets as a tale of adventure and a mysterywriter. Some of her stories like “The Birds”(1952) and “My Cousin Rachel”(1951) were also directed into film by Hitchcook himself.

I’m surprised how Daphne can make herself feel like she is one of the main characters in the stories and the way she interpret them. I’ve heard about her famous short stories of tales, adventure and mystery so I decided to find a novel, which contained many exclusive words and phrases. I looked for an interesting novel, so I chose “Rebecca” from 1938. I borrowed the audiobook because the novel wasn’t available. I was initially sceptic about the audiobook. Would I stay focused on the context or would it prove difficult, since I hadn’t listened to an audio book before. When listening to the audiobook, I experienced something I would never experience while reading an ordinary book. I discovered that the context wasn’t so difficult to comprehend at all.

Rebecca 1938
The story takes place at Manderley in Cornwall, England in1938
We meet the young heroine who works for the rich and overbearing Mrs Van Hopper in the South of France. She meets the charming and handsome Maxim de Winter who is much older than her. They fall madly in love despite for her youth and after some time they marry and move to the famous Manderley in Cornwall, England.

In the book we meet Mrs Danvers the housekeeper. She is a strange and old women who don’t approve the young heroine being there. She has a dark side, a secret about the house or someone regarding the house.

Manderley is a beautiful mansion by the lake. It contains 70 rooms, a big and lovely forest, a cottage in the woods, a wonderful park etc
But mansion bares a secret about Maxim’s late and first wife, Rebecca. Its been said that Rebecca drowned at sea near Manderley, but Mr de Winter bares a secret about her.
The second and young Mrs de Winter is “haunted” by the memories and the sprit of Rebecca.
She is very focused on how Rebecca lived her life with Maxim and she’s afraid of being
compared with her.

Mrs Danvers is not pleased of second Mrs de Winter. She is afraid that Maxim would forget everything about Rebecca and that she would take Rebecca’s place at Manderley!
After a while she gets to like the young Mrs de Winter, but she repeats many times in the book “she is so different from Rebecca”
Rebecca was a popular woman when she was alive. Everyone loved Rebecca, but there was a side of her that no one had seen before. She hid a cruel, dominant and an egotistical woman inside of her! People talked about Rebecca’s death - they were sure that she had drowned at sea, but Mr de Winter was the only one who knew the actual truth.
In the book we get to know Mr de Winter’s awful secret.
He shot Rebecca in the cottage in the woods, dragged her body to the boat by the pier, laid her body in the boatcabin and sunk the boat at sea.
Maxim and Rebecca never loved each other. They hated each other! People talked about their perfect marriage, but it was not a perfect marriage! It consisted of hate, betrayal and unfaithfulness.
Rebecca was dead and Maxim kept his secret.
People said it was a suicide, but Jack Fawell (Rebecca’s lover) was certain. It was Maxim who was the murder, but no evidence was found.

At the end of the novel we get to know that Rebecca had a motive commit suicide. There was something wrong with her. An incurable decease was spreading through her body.
The false truth comes to an end, but the actual truth stays as a mystery.

The end of this book is very strange and mysterious, but is still perfect. It seems to me that the young and the second Mrs de Winter has dreamt everything and wakes up as a person with long, curly hair and a face lovelier than the morning breeze: Rebecca herself. “ IT WAS ALL A DREAM” Rebecca dreamt it all...
Rebecca’s opening line, "Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again," is among the most memorable in twentieth-century literature.

The narrator in “Rebecca” is the young Mrs de Winter. She tells the story with feelings and despair and gets into the spirit of Daphne’s work.
The theme in this book (from my point of view) is: be careful with your actions, trust only the people who trust you back and love can conquer all!
The conflict in “Rebecca” is between
Maxim -> Rebecca (haunted with memories)
Young Heroine -> Rebecca(afraid of being compared)
Young Heroine -> Mrs Danvers( don’t approve the young heroine being Maxim’s wife)
Maxim -> Young Mrs de Winter (she’s afraid he can’t stop loving Rebecca)
The genre is a romantic and mysterious novel.

I loved the audiobook and recommend it to people who love mystery, secrets, betrayal, love and death, all in the same book! I remember having some problems in the beginning, since I had never listened to one before.
I enjoyed the book very much, and I think I will borrow more audio books by Daphne Du Maurier.

Anna Massey (reader) gives a brilliant and memorable performance of “Rebecca”
She had read many famous books like “The Miracle Worker” and “Hotel du Lac”
(Same period as “Rebecca” was written)
Anne Massey gets into the spirit of what she is reading (that’s my opinion) Huh, I can still hear her, reading “Rebecca” with her loud and clear voice.

I’ve been trying to research on how Daphne Du Maurier’s novel “Rebecca” may have reflected her life. I’ve found some things like how the characters are being compared to the ones she knows in her life. I believe that Daphne Du Maurier compares Maxim De Winter with her own father, Gerald Du Maurier. It seemed like they had a close relationship. The reason why she has made Maxim so much older than young Mrs De Winter (from my point of view), is that it seems like Maxim’s character is more like a father to young Mrs de Winter than a beloved husband. A fatherfigure who loves her very much and takes good care of her - not in an incest way of course:)

“We are all ghost of yesterday, and the
phantom of tomorrow awaits us alike in
the sunshine or in the shadow, dimly
perceived at times, never entirely lost”

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