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Transcript of Rebecca Presentation
ENGLISH PRESENTATION BY ESTHER TAYLOR
Rebecca and Gothic Conventions:
Born in England 1907,
She had an indulgent childhood, treated richly by her wealthy father, her first novel was published during her early twenties.
Du Maurier married a noble-man, Lieutenant-General Sir Frederick Browning.
Similarities with Manderley:
Menabilly, the couple's Cornish mansion,
The couple lived in Cornwall, a setting utilised in many of Du Maurier's novels.
the mansion in the novel.
'A re-appraisal of it should begin, perhaps, with the circumstances under which it was written.'
The importance of literary context in 'Rebecca'...
'the first wife, Rebecca, is vivid and vengeful, and, though dead, indestructible: her name lives on in the book's title'
'the second wife gladly submits, allowing her identity to be determined by her husband...
"Du Maurier was wrestling her own demons here, and when she gave aspects of herself to the two women who are the pillars of her narrative she was entering into an area of deeply personal psychological struggle."
Mrs De Winter/ Unnamed heroine
Maxim De Winter
"Working as a lady's companion, the heroine of Rebecca learns her place. Her future looks bleak, until, on a trip to the South of France she meets Max de Winter, a handsome widower whose sudden proposal of marriage takes her by surprise. She accepts, but whisked from Monte Carlo to Manderley, the new Mrs de Winter finds Max a changed man. The memory of his dead wife is kept alive forever by the forbidding housekeeper, Mrs Danvers."
"With Rebecca we enter a world of dreams and daydreams, but they always threaten to tip over into nightmare."
The heroine dreams vividly twice in the novel...
"Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again"
“A dreamer, I walked enchanted, and nothing held me back.”
Satanic Hero/Fallen man
Dreams and Visions
Spiral Narrative method
The macabre, sinister
The dark side of human nature
Cursed or blessed objects
Unnamed heroine/ Mrs de Winter
• Planned the novel at a difficult point in her life, few years since the death of her father Gerald du Maurier, pregnant with her second child when planning the book and wrote the book in Egypt with her husband Frederick Browning.
• Maurier was shy and socially reclusive and detested the small talk and receptions she was expected to attend due to marrying a commanding officer.
• Du Maurier described the novel when giving it to Victor gollancz, her publisher as 'a sinister tale about a woman who marries a widower...Psychological and rather macabre.'
THE HISTORY OF GOTHIC LITERATURE
Said by some critics to be 'Jane Eyre's inferior'
'Rebecca reflects Jane Eyre, but the reflection is imperfect and deliberately so, forcing us to re-examine our assumptions about both novels, and in particular, their treatment of insanity and women.'
'The plot for Rebecca may be as unlikely as the plot of a fairytale, but that does not alter the novel's mythic resonance and psychological truth.'
"...living with the devil."
“If only there could be an invention that bottled up a memory, like scent. And it never faded, and it never got stale. And then, when one wanted it, the bottle could be uncorked, and it would be like living the moment all over again.”
Unnamed heroine, Mrs de Winter
"Back again into the moving unquiet depths. I was writing letters in the morning-room. I was sending out invitations. I wrote them all myself with a thick black pen. But when I looked down to see what I had written it was not my small square handwriting at all, it was long, and slanting, with curious pointing strokes. I pushed the cards away from the blotter and hid them. I got up and went to the looking-glass. A face stared back at me that was not my own. It was very pale, very lovely, framed in a cloud of dark hair. The eyes narrowed and smiled. The lips parted. The face in the glass stared back at me and laughed. And I saw then that she was sitting on a chair before the dressing-table in her bedroom, and Maxim was brushing his hair. He held her hair in his hands, and as he brushed it he wound it slowly into a thick rope. It twisted like a snake, and he took hold of it with both hands and smiled at Rebecca and put it round his neck."
Analysis of the heroine's final dream:
Emulative of Rebecca's
handwriting earlier in the novel-
identity, confusion, fabrication
of two female characters.
Reflection, the two females being linked as one:
'Mrs De Winter', possible allusion to Lewis Caroll's 'Through the looking-glass', an imaginary world where everything is backward, parallel to the concept of dreams and what is occurring here.
Sinister visual imagery to describe something beautiful,
'cloud', 'eyes narrowed' 'lips parted'.
Symbolic of grasp Rebecca still holds over her; why does Maxim 'smile...', is it a release rather than a binding?
Connotations with Snakes-
cunning, venomous etc.
Origins and Enlightenment
19th Century Gothic
Famous Gothic literature