by Daphne du Maurier
Rebecca Theme of Marriage
Rebecca doesn't have too much good to say about marriage. Matrimony is presented as necessary for social and economic respectability. Some people call this gold digging, but in this story, it's more like status digging. In this story, Maxim, Rebecca, and Mrs. de Winter are all willing to do anything to maintain the appearance of a successful marriage, and seem to see a failed marriage as a fate worse than death. Literally. Think about it: our narrator almost jumps out a window to her death in order to avoid the possibility of a failed marriage. Now that's a lot of pressure.
Questions About Marriage
- How is marriage represented in Rebecca? Do different characters have different attitudes toward it, or does most everyone feel the same way? Give a few examples.
- How has the institution of marriage changed since 1938 when Rebecca was published? How has it stayed the same?
- After all the craziness that went down, do you think Maxim and Mrs. de Winter can have a happy, healthy marriage together? Or did they miss their chance?
- Why are the characters so afraid of a failed marriage?
Chew on This
Maxim and Mrs. de Winter both have too much baggage; their marriage is destined to fail.
Maxim and Mrs. de Winter's shared secrets will bind them and strengthen their marriage.