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Essay/Term paper: Book report on rebecca

Essay, term paper, research paper:  English Composition

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Section A - Background Information

1) In 1907, a popular writer named Daphne Du Maurier was born. She wrote

her first novel, Loving Spirit, in 1931. Other novels that Du Maurier wrote

were Rule Britannia, My Cousin Rachel, The King"s General. The

Scapegoat, Jamaican Inn and many more. Margaret Forester held high

praises for Du Maurier. Forester had said, "No other popular writer

{Du Maurier} has so triumphantly defied classification… She satisfied all t

questionable criteria of popular fiction, and yet satisfied too, the exact requirements of "real literature", something very few novelist do." Daphne Du Maurier died in 1985, at the age of 82. Her novel Rebecca is now considered to be a modern classic.

2) I chose this novel because I had heard wonderful things about it. Someone recommended this novel to me and when I read the back, I could not help myself. The summary on the back made the novel seem so intriguing. The cover design caused a mysterious affect. On the cover is a single house. The sky is very dark and gloomy, but then lightens up near the back of the house. The lonesome houses and dark sky made me wonder about all the mysteries and secrets that waited to be unlocked. The title Rebecca is also quite mysterious because the title is a single word. In no way does it make reference to what may happen. The novel makes me think that I should "expect the unexpected"

Section B - Setting and Plot

1) The setting of Rebecca takes place in Maxims ancient family home. This enormous mansion was called Manderely. Manderely was very well known throughout most of Europe, which was where the novel takes place. The author doesn"t specify where in Europe Rebecca takes place. Du Maurier stated that Manderely was driving distance from London, England. Manderely was far away from town. The mansion had beautiful gardens all around it. There were pathways through the forest that lead to Manderely"s private beach. There were iron gates that opened up to the long twisted driveway. The beginning of the driveway was surrounded by tress and shrubs. Then the shrubs disappeared to reveal blood red rhododendrons, that East wing and a West wing. The east wing had a morning room, which was where the characters sat after breakfast, an ante room, a library and a large double bedroom. The double bedroom overlooked Manderely"s beautiful rose gardens. The west had an even larger room, a gallery and a beautiful banquet hall. The bedroom on the west wing overlooked the ocean. This bedroom was not in use because it was where Rebecca and Maxim slept when Rebecca was alive.

The setting of Rebecca was extremely important. The location of the

mansion being very close to the beach, was very important in Rebecca"s

death. The ocean at the beach was where Maxim had killed Rebecca and

sank her boat. If the beach wasn"t so close then the murder would have

been different. Also, Manderely is where Rebecca and Maxim live

together before she died. If Maxim and the new Mrs. De Winter hadn"t

lived in Manderely, then the new Mrs. De Winter wouldn"t have lived in

Manderely and Mrs. De Winder would not have felt like Rebecca was

watching them. In addition, the isolation of Manderely was very important

because it allowed no one to ever know what was going on in Manderely.

No one knew that Maxim killed Rebecca because Manderely was nowhere

near town.

Important Events in the Plot

~ Maxim, a very rich man, meets the future Mrs. de Winter in a hotel in

Monte Carlo.

~ Maxim marries Mrs. de Winter and they leave Monte Carlo.

~ The new Mrs. Winter goes to Maderely, Maxim"s well known mansion,

for the first time.

~ All the staff and townspeople compare the new Mrs. de Winter to

Rebecca, Maxims first wife. They say how Rebecca was perfect.

~ Manderely has a fancy dress gall to make people feel like Manderely is

the same as it was before Rebecca died.

~ Unknowingly, the new Mrs. de Winter wears the same costume Rebecca

wore at Manderely"s last ball. She runs upstairs and changes.

~ Maxim and the new Mrs. de Winter are on the verge of breaking up

because Rebecca is getting between them, but they don"t

~ Maxim tells Mrs. de Winter that he really never loved Rebecca because

she was not as perfect as everyone thought, she was really evil.

~ Maxim says he shot Rebecca on a boat and sank it with her body on it,

because of her evil ways.

~ Rebecca"s boat and body is discovered in the water and the case of her

death is reopened.

~ Rebecca"s cousin, and lover, say that Maxim killed Rebecca, but

Maxim"s name is later cleared because there is no evidence against him.

~ Police have an investigation and come to the conclusion that Rebecca

committed suicide because she was ill.

~ Maxim and Mrs. de Winter put Rebecca behind that now and start off

on a clean state.

~ Maxim and Mrs. de Winter go back to Manderely to see that there

beloved home is on fire

The most interesting part of the novel had to be when Maxim saw the

dress that the new Mrs. de Winter wore to the fancy dress ball. The new

Mrs. de Winter wanted to keep her costume a secret, so she didn"t tell

anyone about her costume. Only Mrs. Danvers, the house maid knew

because she had suggested the costume. The costume was from a picture

that hung in the gallery. The new Mrs. de Winter had her dress made in

London and she was so happy because she looked great. She made a

grand entrance in front of Maxim, his best friend, his sister and her

husband, which were the only people that were close to Maxim. Mrs.

de Winter"s large smile turned into a frown because everyone looked

shocked and upset. Maxim was extremely angry and he told Mrs. de

Winter wore was the exact same exact costume that Rebecca, the old

Mrs. de Winter, had worn the last dress ball. Mrs. Danvers had known

this and she had set Mrs. de Winter up because she loved Rebecca, and

hated Mrs. de Winter.

I found this novel extremely interesting for many reasons. First of all, I

was always anxious to find out what was going to happen next. This part

was very suspenseful. I wanted to know what was going to happen to

Maxim"s and Mrs. de Winter"s relationship as a result of this little

episode. Another reason was that this part was very ironic. I never

expected that Mrs. Danvers , the maid, would be so cruel and set Mrs. de

Winter up like that. Also, I never expected Mrs. de Winter"s costume to

be the exact same as Rebecca"s. Because of these points, I found the

episode with Mrs. de Winter"s costume very interesting.

4) The novel"s ending was very good and satisfying, right up to the last

two paragraphs. The happy ending I was hoping for came true.

Maxim didn"t get caught for Rebecca"s murder and Maxim and Mrs.

de Winter were starting fresh and they were closer than ever before.

But then I read the last two paragraphs of the novel. At the very end,

Maxim and Mrs. de Winter were heading back to Manderely on fire.

Then the novel ended. I didn"t find this part satisfying at all because it

left me hanging. I wanted to know what was going to happen and why

Manderely was on fire. The ending left me with many questions.

5) I was not able to predict the ending because I thought that Maxim

would go to jail for Rebecca"s murder, but he didn"t. There were no

clues that would have made me predict that Manderely was going to be

on fire at the end. I thought the ending was logical. Because all the

evidence didn"t point to Maxim, Maxim wasn"t found guilty of

Rebecca"s murder. The fire was also logical because there were many

people that hated Maxim and Mrs. de Winter, but loved Rebecca, so

they could have easily set Manderely on fire.

Section C - Character

1) The main problem faced by the protagonist, Mrs. de Winter, was that

she lived in the shadows of her husband"s dead wife, Rebecca. Mrs.

de Winter was constantly struggling with Rebecca. Everyone always

compared Mrs. de Winter to Rebecca, no matter where she went. For

example, Mrs. de Winter had said, "You see I know that all the time,

whenever I meet anyone new, they are all thinking the same thing -

How different she is to Rebecca." Also, Mrs. de Winter had thought,

"And then the sentence I had first heard upon Beatrice"s lips, haunting

me ever since, a sentence I read in every eye, on every tongue - "She"s

so different from Rebecca." Even Maxim"s grandmother and sister

compared her to Rebecca. "Maxim"s grandmother had cried, "I want

Rebecca. What have you done with Rebecca? I was a stranger to her.

I did not belong to Maxim or to Manderely. Beatrice (Maxim"s sister)

at our first meeting, looking me up and down, frank, direct, "You"re so

very different from Rebecca…" Rebecca always Rebecca. Wherever

I walked in Manderely, wherever I sat, even in my thoughts and in my

dreams, I met Rebecca…I should never be rid of Rebecca."

Furthermore, Mrs. de Winter was very unconfident and insecure

because Rebecca"s shadow always lingered in Manderely. Because

everyone told Mrs. de Winter that Rebecca was perfect, she thought of

herself as the direct opposite. "I"m gauche and awkward, I dress

badly, I"m shy with people…I"m not right for Manderley." Mrs. de

Winter"s insecurities led her to believe that Maxim loved Rebecca and

that Rebecca would always be present. "It was just that he (Maxim)

was a man, and I was his wife and was young, and he was lonely. He

did not belong to me at all, he belonged to Rebecca. He still thought

about Rebecca. He would never love me because of Rebecca. She

was in the house still, as Mrs. Danvers had said, she was in that room

in the west wing, she was in the library…Her footsteps sounded in the

corridors, her scent lingered on the stairs. The servants obeyed her

orders still, the food we ate was the food she liked. Her favorite

flowers filled the rooms…Rebecca was still mistress of Manderley.

Rebecca was still Mrs. de Winter." Mrs. de Winter came to the point

and he ran at my heels now. The roses were hers and I cut them. Did

she resent me and fear me as I resented her? Did she want Maxim

alone in the house again? I could fight the living but I could not fight

the dead… Rebecca would always be the same. And her I could not

fight. She was too strong for me."

2) Mrs. de Winter resolved her problem by Maxim telling her that he

killed Rebecca. Maxim said how he never loved Rebecca and how

she was evil. Because of this, Mrs. de Winter realized that Rebecca

really wasn"t as perfect as everyone had thought. All of Mrs. de

Winter"s insecurities went away because she realized that Maxim

really loved her and that she didn"t have to live in Rebecca"s shadows


3) Mrs. de Winter"s was in the worst predicament when Maxim told her

that he murdered Rebecca. I think this because she had many

questions she wanted answered. She not only had to decide if she should stay with Maxim, but she had to decide whether to report it or not.

If I were in Mrs. de Winter"s position, I would have left Maxim.

I don"t think I could have stayed married to a murderer. If he had

kept this secret from me, then I would wonder what else he is keeping from me. I wouldn"t have reported him to the police

because I still would have loved him and I wouldn"t do that to someone I love. I would still stay friends with him. I wouldn"t just abandon him. I would help him through the investigation and visit him whenever I could.

In my opinion, the main character is that of admiration and pity. I a

admire Mrs. de Winter because she put up with so much, just to be

with Maxim. She was much stronger tan she thought she was

because she put up with everyone comparing her to Rebecca. I felt

pity for Mrs. de Winter because she was never happy. She thought

her marriage was fake. I can"t imagine living with someone, thinking

of how they don"t love me and constantly being ridiculed because I"m

not as perfect as some dead woman.

Mrs. de Winter was like me in some ways. Like myself, she was

quiet, shy and unconfident. Both of us don"t like to meet and

socialize with people. Like her, I"d feel uncomfortable and awkward

if I had to "play hostess" to a lot of people. Whenever people said

things that hurt Mrs. de Winter"s feelings, she wouldn"t say anything

to them. I wouldn"t say anything either. I would just keep it inside of

me, like Mrs. de Winter did. At the end, Mrs. de Winter was like me

too, even though her character had changed. At the end, Mrs. de Winter was confident and she stuck up for herself. I would have

stuck up for myself too, after I had been through all the things Mrs.

de Winter had.

I would have handled the experiences that Mrs. de Winter faced quite

differently. If I thought my husband didn"t love me, like Mrs. de

Winter had, then I would have talked to him about my insecurities. I

would have talked to him because I wouldn"t be able to live with

someone who wanted someone else. Also, I would have talked to my

husband about the way people were comparing me to his dead wife,

and I would have told him how upset I was about it. I would have

said, "You are married to me now and if you still want your dead

wife, thank I will leave you. If you don"t want her, then let"s put her

behind us."

3) The most interesting and craziest minor character was Ben. Ben

was a"local half wit". He was the most interesting because he was a

very unique character. Also, he was very mysterious. Most of the

time, Ben roamed the beach be himself. Ben said very little, but

when he did speak, it was very significant. He had said, "She

(Rebecca) gave you the feeling of a snake"..I"ll have you put to the

asylum." She said…"She"s (Rebecca) gone now, ain"t she?" he

(Ben) said anxiously. She was a mean one" This quote is a clear

indication that Ben was the only one, other than Maxim and Mrs. de

Winter, who knew how evil Rebecca really was. All of the truth lay

in the "local half wit" and no one ever knew about what he knew,

except for Mrs. de Winter, and the other investigators realized that

Ben may have been the only witness to Rebecca"s murder. Ben

didn"t tell them the truth. He never said a word about it.

Dear Diary,

I was called to go to the big house. Manderly, today, I was very scared. I

thought they wanted to throw me into the asylum. I went into a room in the

house. The room was full of strangers, except for that girl I see on the

beach (Mrs. de Winter). Everyone had her eyes on me. They told me to take

some cigarettes, so I did. A large man (Rebecca"s cousins and lover) asked me if I knew him and If I saw him with Rebecca, the mean lady. I knew what he was talking about, but I said I didn"t because I didn"t because I didn"t want the mean one to come back. The large man got very angry, but I still said I didn"t know. I was getting scared again, so I looked at the nice girl (Mrs. De Winter) and I felt much more safer. I will never tell anybody what I saw on the beach that night because I don"t want the mean one to come back. She should stay with the fishes forever.

Section D - Language

The language in Rebecca was not very difficult. Although I didn"t know what some of the words meant, I still understood the novel very well. The word choice was very appropriate. The difficult words didn"t affect my understanding of the novel because everything was so well described.


1. Insidious - treacherous

2. Tenacious - not readily letting go

3. Whims - freaky idea or desire

4. Trod - tread

5. Infernally - outrageous

6. Lanky - long and limp

7. Blunder - a stupid mistake

8. Ominous - unfavorable

9. Oppressive - severe

10. Prophetic - giving a warning

11. Blaspheme - speak about scared things

12. Salty - dark, bluish gray

13. Veracity - truthfulness

14. Loathes - feels strong dislike

15. Quash - make void

Section E - Theme

1) The theme of Rebecca was that people should not judge others based on past encounters and people. I think this was the them because everyone Judged Mrs. de Winter. They compared her to Rebecca, the old Mrs. de Winter. They thought that Mrs. de Winter wasn"t good enough just because she wasn"t Rebecca. People always said, "Rebecca wouldn"t do that." A person cannot be accepted and be happy if people always judge them by the past. People are different. No one in the world is exactly the same. The past should remain in the past and not enter the present.

The them related to the title, Rebecca, because everyone always

compared Mrs. de Winter to Rebecca. Everything was about

Rebecca, no one else.

Section F - Style

The point of view that Rebecca is written from is Mrs. de Winter"s. Throughout the whole novel, Mrs. de Winter talked about her feelings and how she saw things. All events at Mannerly were through her eyes and mind. The readers didn"t get much of an idea of how the rest of the characters felt and saw things because everything was in Mrs. de Winter"s opinion.

2) There were many literary devices used in this novel, the major ones where irony and description. There was a lot of irony in the novel. The irony was that Maxim killed his wife Rebecca. This was very ironic because everyone, including myself as the reader, thought that Rebecca was perfect and loving. Then, the plot twisted and Maxim said he killed Rebecca because she was evil and he never loved her. I never even expected this to happen. Another example of irony was when Mrs. de Winter wore the exact same costume, that Rebecca wore, to the dress ball. I never expected this, so it was very ironic. Another literary device that the author used was description.

"It was dark, much too dark. That naked eucalyptus tree stifled by brambles looked like the white bleached limb of skeleton, and there was black earthy stream running beneath it, choked with the muddied rains of year, tricking silently the beach below. The birds did not sing here as they did in the valley. It was quite a different. "When de Winter was walking toward the path, the author described everything in detail. " A little wind sprang from nowhere and sprang into me face. A leaf fell on to my hand from the tree above. I shivered for no reason. Then the wind went again, it was hot and sultry as before. The ship and her thin black funnel pointing to the shore.

Section G - Evaluation

1) I found the novel Rebecca very worthwhile. I was reluctant to read it because it looked "blah". I am glad I read it, because it was very interesting and it kept me hooked. I enjoyed this novel greatly.

2)There were many strengths of this novel. One strength was the language.

The language wasn"t very difficult to understand. Another strength was

the authors use of description. The description of Mannerly, the

characters feelings and other things helped me to get a more vivid picture

of what was happening. In addition, the author"s use odd irony and

suspense was a major strength. The situation when Maxim said that

Rebecca was really evil and he killed her, was very ironic. Because the

plot twisted, I was unexpectedly hooked. I wanted to see what was going

to happen next, throughout the whole novel. When a reader cannot put a

novel down because they want to know what would happen when Mrs. de

Winter wore the same costume as Rebecca. I wanted to Know if Maxim

would be caught for Rebecca"s murder. And because of all these

questions I had, I kept reading this novel.

Although Rebecca had a lot of strengths, it had a few weaknesses too.

One example is that I found myself confused sometimes because the

author never stated the real name of Mrs. de Winter. Also, the author

rambled sometimes. I felt the novel dragged on and it was longer that it

needed to be. Some of the author"s descriptions were too long and


I would recommend this novel to anyone because it is very well written.

Out of ten, I"d give Rebecca nine.

Section H - Compare with Movie

There was a movie version of Rebecca. I found the movie to be quite similar but there were some parts that were different. For example, the part of the dress ball was very different. In the novel, Mrs. de Winter had a dress made not realizing it was the same one Rebecca wore. When Maxim sent her upstairs to change. Maxim"s sister comforted her. However, in the movie, Mrs. de Winter went upstairs and had an argument with Mrs. Danvers, the maid who had set her up. Also, in the novel there was a fight between Mrs. de Winter and Mrs. Danvers when they were in the west wing. This fight never occurred in the movie. The ending of the movie was, also, very different. In the novel Maxim and Mrs. de Winter go back to the Manderly to see that it was on fire in the movie Maxim and Mrs. de Winter move far away so they can start off fresh together.


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