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28 November 2007

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Chapters 22-24
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Becky

http://readingwithbecky.blogspot.com/2007/11/reading-rebecca-pt-8.html

I really enjoyed these chapters--especially the interview with Ben.

Elizabeth

Yes, divorce probably would have been a better move...but it wouldn't have prevented the birth of little Damien, now would it?(Look, he even has black hair like Rebecca! http://www.moviemania.sk/img/retro/omen-1.jpg)

Seriously, though, as Maxim's main goal in life is to avoid public humiliation, he was really in a spot. Once he'd married her (Perhaps a longer engagement would have been prudent, hmmm? Not that he learned any lessons about that. Married #2--what--a week after meeting her?) there was no getting out of it cleanly. Image-wise, grieving widower was the best way out.

http://leakydinghy.blogspot.com/2007/11/great-read-chapters-22-24.html

Gail

Jack Favell is a pig. However, he is the character who occupies the moral highground here (except for the blackmailing, of course). Murder is murder. There is an explanation for what Maxim did, but no justification. All the good people of the county support their local lord of the manor against the pig. But the pig is right. Maxim did murder Rebecca, and he shouldn't get away with it.

Mrs. Danvers' description of Rebecca as despising men and rocking with laughter at the lot of them is probably more evidence for those who see a lesbian theme of some sort in this book. I'm not very comfortable with it, myself.

Rebecca=sexually wanton behavior=evil

Mrs. deW2=innocence and inexperience=good

Yet Rebecca is a murder victim and Mrs. deW2 is an accomplice after the fact to murder.

Interesting, isn't it?

Becky

I did not like the theme that sexuality = evil = got what she deserved either. But I think that was at least the sentiment of the narrator and the rest of the main characters. It's a theme that wouldn't really be acceptable today if it was first being written.

And I pointed out that Jack, despicable as he is, is technically right on this one. Maxim is a murderer. Whether Rebecca was a saint or a sinner...she didn't really "deserve" to die like that. But I think--having read the whole book--that Rebecca was in a way asking for it, provoking it. That sounds awful doesn't it. That the person was "asking" or "begging" to be punished. But I think Rebecca did have a death wish. That doesn't mean Maxim was right, however.

And I think that while Maxim (and our narrator) may have gotten away with it technically in the eyes of the law. I think that they'll never escape the torment of it. No matter where they go, how much they try to deny, I think they're both weighted down by the guilt of it.

Gail

I agree that Rebecca manipulated Maxim in their final scene together for her own reasons. (Though we're jumping ahead a bit there.)

I also agree that Maxim and Mrs. deW2 are pretty much wrecked. Though whether it was guilt or something else that took Maxim down and his bride with him is open to debate. I'll hold off saying anymore until everyone finishes the book.

cc

I find it really disturbing in myself that I'm so willing to accept Maxim's side of the story on this one. All along we've been wondering who's perceptions and narrations are reliable and all of a sudden it's like: oh yeah, total accident, totally understandable, Rebecca raging-nympho-drunk-sadist. Sure, why not?

I do think a big part of that comes from the fact that Favell is *so* repellent; and as Leila pointed out, the thinking seems to be that the cousins must have been similar. Same goes for Mrs Danvers; she's messed up and even when she tries to praise Rebecca the portrait created isn't pretty.

I'm still not sure what my ultimate feeling is, but I know that my first reaction is sympathy for Maxim instead of outrage on behalf of Rebecca and if nothing else that means that DuMaurier is one hell of a writer.

(*Also, I admit that I'm a wee bit behind, and I'm relying on a reading a few months old, but isn't it pretty clearly manslaughter/accident rather than murder?)

cc

"whose" "WHOSE" Jeez.

Gail

No, I think it's pretty clearly murder. You could make an argument that it wasn't premeditated, though he did bring the gun with him to the cottage.

Leila

Yeah, he shoots the hell out of her. (Well, just once, I think, we're not talking Boondock Saints here or anything, but it's clearly murder. I do think the premeditation angle could certainly be argued, but, wow, man -- the way that she taunted him about the fact that she was pregnant with someone else's child -- I rather think that even if he hadn't had the gun, he'd have killed her anyway. So I think murder had been in the back of his mind since he found out What She Was Really Like, but when he did it, it was because he snapped. Hell, if I was going down to the cottage and I thought Jack Favell might be there, I'd totally take a gun with me.)

I got big sociopath vibes from Rebecca. And here I go with the pop culture again -- this has occurred to me a few times throughout the book, so I'm finally going to mention it, ridiculous as it is -- Rebecca and the slow reveal of the different versions of her character/activities made me think of Twin Peaks' Laura Palmer. When the show starts, she is mourned as the Homecoming Queen, a beautiful, bright, sweet, thoughtful, etc., etc., etc. young woman -- but as the investigation progresses, it comes out that that was just her public face. (Good thing I bought the DVD boxed set, eh? Man, I'm a dork.)

A big part of the reason I so easily believe Maxim's side of things is Ben. His reaction to Rebecca (and his account of her treatment of him) says it all for me. And Mrs. Danvers' story about the horse. Far as I'm concerned, treat an animal like that, you have it coming.

I know, I know, I know that Maxim is a murderer. That Rebecca was a beast, but that she was wronged. But I still want him to get away with it! I can't help it. Besides, once she had little Damien, she probably would have slowly poisoned Maxim to death anyway.

As Becky said, they'll probably never get away from the guilt/shame anyway. Which, for those who are looking for justice, is a more miserable than an little ole hanging.

cc

Oh my god. I just reread the chapter and, um, so totally not even close to accidental. I feel like that's a pretty significant mis-remembering though.

I also didn't mean to give the impression that I genuinely thought Rebecca might have been actually an okay person. I'm totally glad that she's dead, and I want Maxim to get away with it too. But I feel like it *should* bother me, because "Blame the dead (murdered) wife," is seriously messed up.

Gail, does Rebecca change the way you think about the 19th century parallel book? (Since we're almost done...)

manders

what was the name of the boat?

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