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Using your PBS account, you can: Enjoy the latest content from your local PBS station Use My List to save your favorite shows and videos for later Sync your viewing history and pick up where you left off on any device. Preview Preview 30s. Rebecca Now Streaming. Get a Closer Look at the Show. Providing Support for PBS. Read more Down. Producers Mammoth Screen, Ltd. You Might Also Like Left. The mist in the trees had turned to moisture and dripped upon my bare head like a thin rain.

The clammy oppression of the day The overwhelming aura of, "Rebecca with her beauty, her charm, her breeding," permeates the entire book. Yet Rebecca never appears. Not once. It is unique of its kind. Not only because of that, but also because "Rebecca" is ostensibly the heroine of the book; its title character. She makes her presence felt solely through the narrator - who had never even met her.

Rebecca Stevens - Carter Newell

It is a book which can be read on many levels, and is open to different interpretations, as many great works are. Take the opening sentence, whose hypnotic rhythm I referred to at the start of this review.

What We Do

Have you noticed the structure? It is an iambic hexameter there are 6 lengths - 6 "di-dahs" which along with the iambic pentameter 5 lengths is often used in English poetry and plays. Was this deliberate? Was it subliminal? For a moment I wondered if the author's own name, "Daphne Du Maurier" becomes an iambic hexameter if you double it up.

To echo that would perfectly demonstrate to me how much of herself she puts into her novels. But in fact it becomes a dactylic tetrameter the dactylic poetic foot being one stressed followed by two unstressed ie "dum-di-di". Nevertheless, to use such a structure shows her feelings and deep love for poetic language. The are myriads of details which can be analysed and seen as portents.

Take the instance of Beatrice's wedding present to the new bride - a set of books. They fall, due to the viewpoint character's clumsiness, thus breaking a small cupid ornament - which itself was a wedding present to the first Mrs de Winter. Here the symbolism is overt. The are two "paths" which the narrator can take - both figuratively and literally.


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One is called "Happy Valley" , the other That tangle of shrubs there should be cut down to bring light to the path. It was dark much too dark.

That naked eucalyptus tree stifled by branches looked like the white bleached limb of a skeleton, and there was a black earthy stream running beneath it, choked with the muddied rains of years, trickling silently to the beach below. The birds did not sing here as they did in the valley.

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It was quiet in a different way. In other parts of the novel she will use extremely short sentences - not even complete sentences in some cases - to heighten the mood and add a jerkiness and breathlessness to a dramatic situation. There is a very marked instance of this about two thirds the way through the novel after a big "reveal". It is a highly charged emotional episode, and after this the characters behave in a slightly different way, both towards each other and to everyone else, because of their experience. In certain descriptive passages Du Maurier's language is extremely poetic.

The feeling that Manderley is a character rather than just a building, garden and estate was touched on earlier in this review.

Analysis and adaptations

Manderley is overwhelmingly an organic presence. Much use is made of the pathetic fallacy throughout the novel. Nature is always described as taking on the attributes and feelings of the person experiencing it. Is this deliberate too? Or merely a reflection of what the author felt - her passionate reaction to her beloved Nature in all its apparent moods; Cornwall's unpredictable sea, the cliffs, the gardens and the house.

This quote is typical of the overall feeling of threat and tension in this novel, "The weather had not broken yet. It was still hot, oppressive. The air was full of thunder and there was rain behind the white dull sky, but it did not fall. I could feel it, and smell it, pent up there, behind the clouds. Yet it could be argued that she was still to write her best works.

I personally feel she has honed her skills to an even greater and subtler level with that one. Here is a link to my review of it. However, whatever you judge to be the case as regards literary worth, this is a compelling book which once read is never forgotten. Daphne Du Maurier has invested a great deal of herself in this novel - her personality, her own obsessions and her experiences.

It is an excellent read on any level, with tension, high drama, intrigue and tragedy. There are a couple of very ingenious twists. And the characters and places have cunningly filtered their way into the public's consciousness as those in all great works do. View all 79 comments. Nature had come into her own again and, little by little, in her stealthy, insidious way had encroached upon the drive with long, tenacious fingers. The woods, always a menace even in the past, had triumphed in the end.

In her dream, our narrator is remembering the long, serpentine drive, not when it was beautiful and alive with flowers, but at another time when she was frightened. Du Maurier describes both the beauty and the terror of life at Manderley, and she never seems to repeat herself in her many descriptions of the gardens, the woods, the clothes, the weather. Our narrator tells us how she came to be there all those years ago.


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She was in Monte Carlo as the paid companion of an older American woman, a terrible gossip and name dropper. Scenes with her are quite amusing. Van Hopper spotted Maxim de Winter at the hotel where they were staying and managed to get him to their table so she could pump him for gossip. He made a few slightly sarcastic remarks which went right over Mrs. They say he never talks about it, never mentions her name. She was drowned you know, in the bay near Manderley. When Mrs Van Hopper fell ill and was ordered to bed for a couple of weeks, Mr de Winter invited our girl out to sightsee and he obviously found her refreshing.

An impossible woman to live up to. That kind of crying, deep into a pillow, does not happen after we are twenty-one. The throbbing head, the swollen eyes, the tight, contracted throat. And the wild anxiety in the morning to hide all traces from the world, sponging with cold water, dabbing eau-de-Cologne, the furtive dash of powder that is significant in itself. The panic, too, that one might cry again, the tears swelling without control, and a fatal trembling of the mouth lead one to disaster.