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Daphne du Maurier
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Little Words, Big Ideas
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 mor...
Where's the love? You might find yourself asking just this question as you read Rebecca. In spite of its highly romantic nature, this novel is full of spiteful, selfish characters wrapped up in dar...
The main characters in Rebecca are all either dead, look dead, or are dangerously close to death. In fact, the title character, Rebecca, is dead before the story even begins. Sure there's murder in...
Contemporary critics read all sorts of complicated sexualities in Rebecca. Rebecca herself (though she's dead before the novel begins, and never reappears) is sometimes seen as bisexual and sometim...
Memory and the Past
Daphne du Maurier's blockbuster turned classic is for the most part, a memory of the past. It's narrated by a woman known only as Mrs. de Winter who's looking back on the most intense part of her p...
Boys will be boys. And girls will definitely be girls. In Rebecca, both men and women are shown as constrained by the gender roles of their society. Women seem to have a severely limited number of...
Lies and Deceit
If you've reached the end of Rebecca and you still don't feel like you know the truth, then things are exactly as they should be. Part of the fun of this book is trying to sort the truth from the l...
Society and Class
Mrs. de Winter has a classic rags-to-riches transformation in Rebecca. She starts off as a paid companion (a low-class job) and suddenly finds herself as the lady of the house at Manderley. Still,...
Justice and Judgment
This might just be Rebecca's most controversial theme. It's not often that a murder evades the arms of punishment and justice in a fictional narrative. The Production Code Administration of the Mot...
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