| Quote #1
I was like a little scrubby schoolboy with a passion for a sixth-form prefect, and he kinder, and far more inaccessible. (5.9)
Mrs. de Winter describes her early relationship with Maxim as kind of platonic. She likens herself to a schoolboy, and Maxim to "sixth form prefect," which is something like a senior class president. Interesting how she casts herself in a male role.
| Quote #2
I remember that, for I was young enough to win happiness in the wearing of his clothes, playing the schoolboy again who carries his hero's sweater and ties it about his throat choking, with pride. (5.11)
Again, Mrs. de Winter puts herself in a male role when describing her take on her relationship with Maxim. What do you make of it? Why not a schoolgirl instead of a schoolboy? Would this have changed the image?
| Quote #3
[Manderley] would know a period of glorious shabbiness and wear when the boys were young – our boys – for I saw them sprawling on the sofa with muddy boots, bringing with them always a litter of rods, and cricket bats, great clasp-knives, bows-and-arrows. (7.44)
Notice the emphasis on the male child: this is a thread throughout Rebecca. Manderley, we are told, can only be passed to Maxim's oldest son. We actually don't know what happens if he doesn't have one. Maybe it will go to Beatrice's son? In any case, the novel suggests that a married woman proves her value by producing sons. And this is the twentieth century!