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by Daphne du Maurier

The Postcard of Manderley

Symbolism, Imagery, Allegory

I paid twopence for the painting – half my weekly pocket money – and then asked the wrinkled shop woman what it was meant to be. She looked astonished at my ignorance.

"That's Manderley," she said, and I remember coming out of the shop feeling rebuffed, yet hardly wiser than before. (4.21-22)

Mrs. de Winter remembers buying a postcard of Manderley as a child. This little touch makes the whole story seem somehow meant-to-be, as if Mrs. de Winter's life is a road which always leads back to Manderley. At the same time, the postcard creates the image of Manderley as a place that's out of reach (say, burned to the ground?). After all, postcards are sent from exciting, far-off places; places you might never expect the recipient to be.

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