Responses to Rebecca Readalong Discussion Questions!

These questions were posted by Sandy Nawrot @ You’ve GOTTA Read This as part of the Rebecca Read-A- Long


SPOILER WARNING





Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again.” This is quite possibly one of the most famous opening lines of a book. How do these words set the tone for the rest of the story?


When I read those words, it was with a gentle British accent. I loved the opening. I felt it set somewhat of a formal tone, but I knew the story would be eloquent, from then on. The writing most certainly did not disappoint me.

2.      1.      “Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again.” This is quite possibly one of the most famous opening lines of a book. How do these words set the tone for the rest of the story?
When I read those words, it was with a gentle British accent. I loved the opening. I felt it set somewhat of a formal tone, but I knew the story would be eloquent, from then on. The writing most certainly did not disappoint me.

2.      Du Maurier obviously chose not to name the second Mrs. de Winter (referred to as DW2 from hereon). How did this affect your perception of her?

Well, I was not oblivious to Du Maurier’s decision in not giving DW2 a name. I think this makes DW2 very ambiguous, we don’t get much of her looks described. I almost feel as though she is an any woman character. Clearly names are important, they are a means to identity, therefore when someone does not have a name, it is almost as though they do not have an identity. I also see this as DW2 being defined by the male she is with. As you notice, the only name we know her by is Maxim’s name. We don’t know her maiden name. We don’t know her first name. We just know she took on her husband’s name.
3.      Do you think the character of DW2 was believable?

Yes, I do actually. DW2 is very shy, very unsure of herself. I think you get that a lot with youth. Many people grow up at different times. Also, I see class as being a HUGE issue in this book. DW2 goes from being a companion to the wife of a very rich and important man. I know in that situation, I would probably be just as shy. I wouldn’t want people to think of me as gauche just because I married into money. I mean, this is a girl who has servant ingrained into her way of thinking, so duh obviously she’s going to feel uncomfortable. If you’ve ever gone from being inferior to superior, perhaps you may know the feeling and will be able to understand DW2’s character a bit more.

1.      There is a drastic change in the second Mrs. de Winter (whom I will call DW2 from hereon) mid-way through the book. Talk about what caused the transformation. How did you feel about DW2 after this happened?

Basically, DW2 grows up. She realizes she does not need to be pushed around, and that Rebecca was kind of a douche, which was not what I was expecting at all. I know, I know it was probably obvious to everyone, but I need brightly painted signs, I often miss the forest because of the trees. After DW2 learns that Rebecca is the whore of Babylon and gets all empowered, I was quite proud of her. It was a “You Go Girl” moment.

Although it was not explicitly discussed, what do you think was the true nature of the relationship between Rebecca and Mrs. Danvers?

Well, when I picture Ms. Danvers, I picture the Wicked Witch from the Wizard of Oz, only without the green make-up and broom, so it’s hard for me to imagine saucy Rebecca getting it on with her, since I am slightly shallow like that. I don’t know that I see their relationship as reciprocal, because it’s obvious Danvers was in love with Rebecca. Plus she mentions laughing over men with Rebecca, yet I don’t see them having a consummate relationship, although it is possible, as rumor has it Du Maurier was bisexual, so mayhap she placed a gay relationship in the book under the radar. I suppose at the time this was written, late 1930s being gay was not something one spoke about in the open.
3.      In the discussion questions last week, I asked how you felt about Maxim deWinter. Has your opinion changed? Why?

I still think he’s a loser. I mean, I get that your whoring-wife may ruin your reputation. However, that gives you NO right to kill her. OMG, grow a set and deal with it. This is the 1930s, prior to the whole Feminist Movement, so I don’t see why he didn’t just exert some control and reign the crazy lady in. I mean, are you really so dense that you don’t know someone is a nympho before you marry them? Really? Really? I just have a hard time believing that. I suppose Rebecca did have them all fooled, still it’s hard for me to believe someone could be such a blockhead.

Were you satisfied with the ending? Did you have closure? Did you have to go back and re-read the beginning?

Actually, I liked the ending quite a bit. There’s the symbolism of Manderley burning to the ground and Maxim and DW2 being able to start a new life without the shadow of crazy-face hanging over them. Sometimes I hate when the author spells out every little detail, i.e. Ron then married Hermoine and Harry married Ginny and they all had babies. The end. No, that’s lame. This isn’t to say end on a cliffhanger, but I could do with some loose ends and something which maybe doesn’t spell everything out, but I could guess at, based upon character development and plot development.

How would you classify this novel? Love story? Ghost story? Tragedy? Murder mystery? Some have called “Rebecca” one of the greatest gothic romances of all time. Do you agree?

I would classify this story as tragedy. I guess metaphorically it could be a ghost story since dead-Rebecca has to go and haunt everything what with her memories and all. However, there never is anything paranormal which occurs. I mean, yes you have freaky Danvers and the kissing cousins, buuuut there’s nothing to me that screams ghost-ghost-ghost. I see this story as tragic because you have a girl basically my age who gets saddled in a relationship with a man my dad’s age. She doesn’t know what the hell she wants, and then AGH GARG GASP she finds out her lover is a murderer and is okay with that. I mean, are you going to be okay with it when he kills you too? I am pretty sure I would not want to piss Maxim off.  I guess it’s a good thing DW2 isn’t too wanton, otherwise she’d probs be axed. I see a lot of false hopes in this novel, and to me false hopes are what I consider to be tragic.

3.
About April (Books&Wine)

April is 28 years old and created Good Books And Good Wine. She works for a non-profit. In her free time she can be found reading, working out, or eating junk food. She often wears her sunglasses at night.

Comments

  1. Sandy Nawrot says:

    OMG, I'm going to pee my pants laughing! I love that you have called Rebecca a douche and the Whore of Babylon! I think I would agree with just about everything you said (and by the way, wow, answering all the questions at once…you're ambitious!). I don't think Rebecca loved anybody but herself, even Danvers. She knew Danvers loved her and used it to her advantage. And yes, I would be scared to anger Maxim and tempt him to kill me too. But I think DW2 is way to dense to figure that out. Talk about low self-esteem! I'm go glad you participated in this…it was fun!

  2. I love your responses and I can totally see Mrs. Danvers as the wicked witch now!!!!

  3. Michelle (Red Headed Book Child) says:

    Hilarious. I've never read it but it has been on my list!

  4. Great responses!! I think you hit the class thing right on the head; you didn't pull any punches, either. Defining Rebecca as the Whore of Babylong was priceless!

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