Why is Rebecca considered a Gothic novel

Rebecca , Gothic Suspense Novel by Daphne du Maurier, published in 1938. Widely considered a classic, it is a psychological thriller about a young woman obsessed with her husband's first wife.

Name the novelist
Each answer in this quiz is a writer's name. How many do you know

Summary

The story takes place in the Cornish wilderness in a large country house called Manderley. One of du Maurier's intriguing means is her refusal to name her heroine, the first-person narrator, known only as Winter's second wife. The novel begins with her famous saying: "Last night I dreamed that I had gone back to Manderley." Much of the story is then told in retrospect. A shy, clumsy young woman in Monte Carlo, she is working for an older personality when she meets Maximilian (Maxim) de Winter. He is a wealthy widower whose wife Rebecca drowned in a sailing boat accident. After a whirlwind commercial, the young woman and Maxim marry and later settle in Manderley. The narrator feels increasingly inferior to Rebecca, despite receiving compliments from various people. For Winter's second wife, Rebecca embodies glamor and happiness, and she doesn't think she can compete with this dead role model to win Maxim's love. Mrs. Danvers, the sinister housekeeper, wounds the narrator in particular by constantly mentioning how much Maxim loved Rebecca, and always would love it.

Tension mounts as the narrator becomes both increasingly obsessed with the beautiful first wife and insecure about her marriage. At the annual fancy dress ball in Manderley, Mrs De Winter, encouraged by Mrs Danvers, wears a costume without realizing that it was similar to one worn by Rebecca shortly before her death. The outfit annoys Maxim, who orders her to change. The narrator later confronts Ms. Danvers, who says Maxim doesn't want her and encourages her to jump out the second-floor window. At that moment, however, rockets are fired when a ship hits a reef in the nearby bay and the two women separate. Divers soon discover a sunken sailboat that contains Rebecca's body. Maxim then reveals the truth to his second wife - he was not in love with Rebecca. She was cruel and manipulative, and soon after their wedding, she began having numerous affairs. Fearing a scandal, Maxim agreed to her offer: outwardly, she would appear the perfect woman if he allowed her to live privately as she pleased. However, on the night of her death, she had told her husband that she was pregnant and that the father was one of her lovers. In a fit of anger, Maxim shot Rebecca and put her body in a sailboat, which he then sank. (Weeks after Rebecca's disappearance, a body had been found and Maxim had identified it as hers.) Maxim shot Rebecca and put her body in a sailboat, which he then sank. (Weeks after Rebecca's disappearance, a body had been found and Maxim had identified it as hers.) Maxim shot Rebecca and put her body in a sailboat, which he then sank. (Weeks after Rebecca's disappearance, a body had been found and Maxim had identified it as hers.)

The heroine then discovers an inner strength and confidence that leads to a power shift in her marriage. Maxim appears to be saved when the coroner declares Rebecca's death to be suicide. However, one of Rebecca's lovers, her cousin Jack Favell, tells the judge that Maxim murdered Rebecca, and Mrs. Danvers apparently confirms the two were having an affair. The judge tries to determine why Rebecca committed suicide and it is found that she went to see a London doctor on the day of her death. When questioned later, the doctor states that Rebecca was in fact infertile and died of cancer. According to the judge, this discovery provides a motive for Rebecca's suicide and Maxim is no longer a suspect. A final turn occurs when Mrs Danvers disappears and after de Winters returns from London

Get exclusive access to content from our 1768 First Edition with your subscription. Subscribe today

Analysis and adjustments

Du Maurier's favorite writers included the Brontë sisters (Emily Charlotte and Anne), and the plot and pace of Rebecca remember Jane Eyre . At Rebecca However, many believed that you Maurier had found her own voice as a writer. She infused the melodramatic story with great psychological insights and presented a story of jealousy that resonated with many readers. Rebecca was very popular when it was released and was later adapted for television, film, and the stage. Perhaps his most notable adaptation was Alfred Hitchcock's Academy Award-winning film (1940) starring Laurence Olivier as the brooding Maxim, Joan Fontaine as his second wife, and Judith Anderson as Danvers.