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19 November 2007

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Chapters 10-12
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Becky

http://readingwithbecky.blogspot.com/2007/11/reading-rebecca-pt-4.html

Emmaco

I can't pinpoint anything Beatrice said (although I have only thought about it in a lazy fashion) so think it is Teh Past that is the problem.

I think you're giving Mrs deW2 too much credit for hiding strength and abilities. But I finished up this section wanting to bop her on the head so maybe that's why I'm dubious. (Interesting to see the way we're both getting a bit slap-happy as we read!). And sure Max might have noticed there's problems in his marriage but I bet you the next part of the book doesn't see him do anything practical to help Mrs deW2.

Max does play a good Husband with a Tortured Past, though. I give him that.

Elizabeth

Ooh, I know, Isn't Ben awesome? I love the way she notes his "sly, idiot's smile." I can't remember if he plays a bigger part in this or not. Hoping he does!

One thing I've been wondering about: she's mentioned several times how bothered she is by the labels in Rebecca's handwriting on the cubbies of her desk. I can understand why she hasn't changed the rest of the room around--that would draw too much attention to her, take too much courage--but why doesn't she re-do the stupid labels? Maybe she LIKES feeling this tortured. I'm beginning to suspect she's a total drama queen.

Elizabeth

I'm up. http://leakydinghy.blogspot.com/2007/11/great-read-chapters-10-12.html

Emmaco

I've just realised it might have been easier for you Leila if I gave you the actual entry each time around (so much for my posting once a week - I've been sucked into the saga!)

http://emmaco.livejournal.com/81385.html#cutid1

Gail

The labels on the desk got to me, too. For heaven's sake, woman, rip them off.

I think Mrs. deW2 is a little passive aggressive. While she sees herself being treated like a pet, and accepts it to a great degree, she also stands up to Maxim in conversation, maybe in a whiny way. Then you'll see her back off again, blaming herself for any happiness she perceives in him. It can be trying.

In this section I think you see the de Winters and their class being treated as, I don't know, anti-intellectuals? Beatrice doesn't read if she can help it. She's sending her boy to college because she doesn't know what else to do with him, though she clearly doesn't see the benefit of it. Maxim thinks writing letters is a waste of time. The bishop's wife treats Mrs. deW2's interest in art as a hobby. (Since we never see Mrs. deW2 doing anything with her so-called interest in art, she's probably not far off the mark in this case.)

Again, what am I to make of this?

Maxim and Mrs. deW2 can't meet as intellectual equals because Maxim and his kind disparage it and Mrs. deW2 doesn't seem to have any interest, either. They also can't meet as social equals. She is more comfortable talking with Frank, an employee, and with her new maid.

Finally, earlier Leila suggested Mrs. deW2 may be an unreliable narrator. I'd like to suggest that all the characters are unreliable.

Leila

Really? The 'modesty' thing didn't get you? I'm still holding out hope that Mrs.deW2 isn't as weak as she appears to be. (Maybe because otherwise I'd want to Fforde Book Jump in there and start busting heads.)

"...but why doesn't she re-do the stupid labels?"

AND GET A NEW PEN! She's driving me crazy with her "Rebecca touched THIS, Rebecca touched THAT" mantra.

I don't think Maxim will do anything practical to Fix Things, either. (But I don't see Mrs.deW2 stepping up, either. It takes two, is all I'm saying. Stick the two of them and Ben in a room, and I'd trust Ben to be the first one to do something sensible.)

So what do you think, O Those Who Are Reading This For the First Time... was Rebecca the town flirt? I vote yes.

Leila

Oh, Gail, we posted at the same time.

I think she's totally passive-agressive. She's pissed, so she makes that crack about gossip, and then she acts all innocent about it. She totally knew what she was saying.

In the argument/conversation at the end of Chapter 12, Mrs.deW2 brings up the differences in class, even mentioning how she's comfortable with her maid and her maid's mother.

Maxim basically tells her that she just needs to work at it, that she will gain confidence and poise if she actually puts some effort into it. I think he's right, though could have been a little nicer about it -- he was not at all sympathetic. More of a "Buck up, you silly little fool" reaction, though I can't double-check that because my book's at home. If he's used to women like Rebecca and Mrs. Danvers and Beatrice, it isn't surprising that he's find Mrs.deW2's lack of gumption irritating, even if that quality is one of the reasons he married her.

I think it's hilarious that everyone talks about her interest in art, yet I think we've only seen her draw once (and of course, it was that picture of Maxim).

I'm having a hard time identifying with her for a lot of reasons, but one of the big ones is that she has no passion. And I don't mean a passion for Maxim, or her lack of verve -- I mean that she doesn't seem to have any interests. She's there, at Manderley, with (I'd assume) pretty much unlimited time and resources, and SHE CAN'T FIND ANYTHING TO DO OTHER THAN BITCH ABOUT THE LABELS ON HER DESK.

Emmaco

Leila, what do you mean? Mrs deW2 is a happy normal person! :)

I was hoping she'd take an interest in walking one of the dogs or something - didn't she mention one of them nostaligically at the start? - but no, it's only Maxim.

And yes, my vote's in for Rebecca being a less than virtuous wife.

Gail, going back to your theme of disapproval of the upper class from last time, there was a moment in this section where I thought Du Maurier was poking fun of the upper classes' manners - when Robert isn't acting himself at lunch and hands Max the cutlets without giving him a plate.

Gail

While I was making dinner, the significance of Mrs. deW2's interest in art hit me like a ton of bricks. But I can't say anything about it until you've finished the book. Hope I don't forget.

At "There's always time for a book," our reading companion talked about being a sucker for a good story line. I do think this book has a marvelous story line. I think du Maurier does a wonderful job of revealing something in each chapter.

cc

Ooh, I'm so glad the art thing got mentioned because I think it's really major, and I think it ties into her passive/aggro thing, in that it's the only thing that the narrator has given us as a normal identity to hang something on (we don't know what she looks like, how old she is, what she likes (if anything)) but we see in action how much Mrs deW2 (in the actually story) rejects that identification. Because she doesn't sketch in the story, and it's not important to her.

I am *dying* to hear what your revelation was, Gail. But don't tell. Also, I totally guessed the intertext. It's awesome.

In fact, the more I think about it, the more I'm with Leila on this one. Can she really think of nothing better to do with her time? Nothing? Really?

Elizabeth

Gail, patience is not my thing. I am no good with surprises. You and your bombshell are welcome to mosey over to the Leaky Dinghy and tell me what that art thing is all about.

I won't tell!

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GA

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