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26 November 2007

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Chapters 19-21
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Elizabeth

"It's gone forever, that funny, young, lost look that I loved. It won't come back again."

Yeah, that might be his most dickish (dickiest?) quote of the book. It certainly implies, "This is what I loved about you--even though I never told you I loved ANYTHING about you--but now it's gone. So maybe I need to go shopping for a new ingenue. Wanna go sailing?"

Okay, he doesn't go quite that far. But I agree, Leila, it confirms your original hypothesis as to why he married her, and leaves us wondering where her newfound grown-upness will leave them. Well, actually, I guess we do know. It leaves them in that weird role-reversal we saw at the beginning of the book, where suddenly she's the care-taker.

http://leakydinghy.blogspot.com/2007/11/great-read-chapters-19-21.html

mordena

The "It's gone forever" line, I always think, is key to the whole book. It is the moment when everything turns around -- Maxim feels sad that she isn't the lost young thing any more, and she feels so happy that she isn't that person. She's been waiting all this time to be a grownup.

Gail

You guys finally got to the big reveal!! I've been ready to explode waiting for you. Tell me, did you see it coming? Were you surprised?

I, of course, can't remember how I felt reading this book for the first time as a teenager. I think it gave me a jolt, since I certainly always remembered the book. Even knowing what was coming, during this reading I thought it was revealed very well.

"Will you look into my eyes and tell me that you love me now?" I think that's Maxim's best line.

With this rereading, I believe Maxim to be a very, very weak personality. Not a weak _character_. He's a well-defined weak personality. His reasoning for doing what he did is all about weakness, though, I will admit, I have trouble transporting myself back to the time of the novel and am having trouble emphathizing. He was too weak and concerned about public opinion to toss Rebecca out on her butt when he realized what she was on their honeymoon. He was too weak and conventional and concerned with status and property to divorce her when she told him she was pregnant.

Regarding Mrs. deW2's power: I think it's clear in the beginning section of the book when she talks about their life as travelers that she is the power figure in their relationship at that time. She has become the companion and caretaker that she was when Maxim first met her only now she is companion and caretaker to him. (Perhaps what he always wanted?)

I thought that once they got to Manderley, Maxim became the power figure, but now that I think about it more, perhaps he wasn't. As I said, I find him very weak. Perhaps Rebecca was the power figure in Maxim and Mrs. deW2's marriage. Rebecca loses her power once Mrs. deW2 learns that Maxim never loved her. Or, more importantly, once Mrs. deW2 becomes an accomplice after the fact regarding his secret.

More to look forward to: _Rebecca_ has not yet yielded all its surprises.

jessmonster

I wasn't TOO surprised at the big reveal - I always thought it was fishy that Maxim had been able to identify the body after months in the ocean. I mean, really. But I hadn't guessed the exact details. Leila, I also had a tiny moment of sympathy for Maxim. But honestly - he really is weak, like Gail said. Maybe he just hides his weak personality behind a lot of bluster and meanness. Which would explain why Mrs. D is still on staff, and why he doesn't explain things to Mrs. deW2 earlier.

I'm finished with the book and I'm confused and I'm anxious for everyone to catch up and see if I'm being thick-headed or what.

Gail

Oh, and remember Leila's concern earlier about whether or not Mrs. deW2 was a reliable narrator? We see now that none of the characters were reliable in what they said about her. The locals who were taken in by her, Mrs. Danvers who adored her, Beatrice and Frank, who played their cards close to the chest, the staff. The only reliable character was Ben, and no one understood what he was talking about.

I'm really admiring the writing in this book, no matter what we may think of the de Winters.

Emmaco

I don't think I guessed this was coming (you'd think I'd remember what I was thinking a few hours ago) but I certainly wasn't overly surprised. I'm looking forward to seeing if Mrs deW2 does get more power - at the moment I feel like she's still powerless to the extent that all that matters in her whole life is Maxim, so she's still dependent on him.

And Leila, I too liked Maxim better after he told his secret. It made him a bit more active and interesting to me! (although I would like to state I do not support for murder of spouses rather than divorce!)

http://emmaco.livejournal.com/82892.html

Emmaco

Oh, and I have to miss the rest of the discussions! Unless I can find internet access at the conference/airports I'll be in. I've really been enjoying it all so am quite cranky about it. At the very least I'll post on Saturday when I get home!

Becky

http://readingwithbecky.blogspot.com/2007/11/reading-rebecca-pt-7.html

Wendy

I think all my favorite Du Maurier books are the ones with the crazy narrators. You really need to try My Cousin Rachel after this.

Gail

I read Rachel many, many years ago, but remember virtually nothing about it. Does a crossroads figure into it somehow? That's all I've got on that one.

When you're done, you might want to read Michael Dirda's essay on REBECCA, in his new book. It begins:

"Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again." With these unforgettable words the reader is launched into one of the most powerful visions of .  .  . what? Daphne du Maurier's Rebecca is a far more complex work of art than commonly believed, being one of the half dozen greatest romance novels of the century and a subtle undercutting of the whole romance genre. It is simultaneously a devastating examination of the sexual politics of marriage, a haunting study of jealousy and psychological obsession, and a classic of suspense.

When you're done, you might want to read Michael Dirda's essay on REBECCA, in his new book. It begins:

"Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again." With these unforgettable words the reader is launched into one of the most powerful visions of .  .  . what? Daphne du Maurier's Rebecca is a far more complex work of art than commonly believed, being one of the half dozen greatest romance novels of the century and a subtle undercutting of the whole romance genre. It is simultaneously a devastating examination of the sexual politics of marriage, a haunting study of jealousy and psychological obsession, and a classic of suspense.

Laurie

The part where she tells Mrs. Danvers not to serve the cold food is pretty much my favorite part of the book. If there was some way to say "You go, girl!" that was not completely hackneyed, I would say it.

Leila

Oh, go for it. I felt guilty about resorting to "Oooooo, SNAP!", but it was called for.

zak

i dont really like rebecca to be honest...it drags on a bit through the middle part.

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