January 3, 2011

Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier (1-14)

January 3, 2011
* Ok, I know we are not supposed to be making our first read-along post for Rebecca until the middle of January, but in order to stay organized (in my weird OCD mind) while I participate in three simultaneous read-alongs, I feel as though I need to make the first post for each novel as I finish the first allotted section for that novel. I plan to finish Rebecca tonight, but I won't post the final post for any of the novels until the indicated time. So...let this serve as a spoiler alert if you have not yet finished part one of the novel.*
Fourteen chapters in with Daphne du Maurier’s Rebecca, published in 1938, and we still do not know the name of our narrator, the second Mrs. de Winter. I find this very irksome. Perhaps this is so the reader has to focus on Rebecca while the second Mrs. de Winter fades into the background. Here is what we do know about the narrator:
1.      Her parents are deceased.
2.      She is apparently around the age of 21 when she marries Maxim de Winter who is 42.
3.      At the time of her marriage, she does not appear to have much self confidence or social refinery.
4.      She does not resemble the first Mrs. de Winter, Rebecca (which is apparently what attracted Maxim to her).
5.      She and Maxim never really discussed Rebecca and the mystery surrounding this woman is becoming a little bit of an obsession for the second Mrs. de Winter.
6.      She appears to like dogs.

This is really not a lot of information. What do we know about the elusive Rebecca? Well, not a whole lot more as it turns out. She was apparently beautiful, tall, and blessed with dark hair and fair skin. She was a marvelous hostess and lady of the house. She died in some tragic sailing accident in the bay near Manderley. It also appears that she could be rather odd…rambling around the boathouse at night, sailing alone at night, and threatening the mentally handicapped Ben. He reveals the following interesting information:  “She gave you the feeling of a snake. I seen her here with mine own eyes. By night she’d come … I looked in on her once … and she turned on me, she did … she said you’ve never seen me here … if I catch you looking at me through the window here I’ll have you put in the asylum.” Hmm...
And, how creepy is the house manager, Mrs. Danvers? I was completely freaked out by her performance with the narrator in Rebecca's old bedroom in chapter 14. I am wondering what role she is really playing here and in the past with Rebecca. If I was the new Mrs. de Winter, I would have had her replaced despite her efficiency. I also would have asked to decorate my own morning room and not live in the wake of Rebecca’s preferences. Oh, and who the hell is this Mr. Favell?? I did find it rather amusing that he calls Mrs. Danvers “Danny.”
I certainly am interested in getting to the bottom of all this mystery and yet I find that the book is moving along a bit slower than I expected it to. Is anyone else experiencing this feeling?

Daphne du Maurier
 Favorite Quote from the first half of the novel: “A large parcel arrived one morning, almost too large for Robert to carry. I was sitting in the morning-room, having just read the menu for the day. I have always had a childish love of parcels. I snipped the string excitedly, and tore off the dark brown paper. It looked like books. I was right. It was books.” – Mrs. de Winter
I liked this scene so much because I too love to receive parcels, especially those that contain books!


Allie said...

:) I actually wrote my first post Saturday after finishing the first half, but have it scheduled to go up on the posting day. Then I read the second half in a matter of a couple hours last night and I am planning on writing that post later tonight. :)

The second half moves along faster than the first half. There is more action and suspense. I couldn't put the book down, which is why I am so tired today.

I'll be sure to link this up on posting day so everyone can come and see!

Carey said...

You were so right about the second half having more action and suspense than the first. I just finished the book and wrote my second post. I can't wait until we can all discuss it! :)

Anonymous said...

I posted on Allies blog, I do not have a blog site myself. I too wrote my my assessment and then found the second half to be so much more exciting. I think we all had the same feelings about no name, why Mrs. Danvers is still there and why in the world would you keep Rebeccas things around you and let people act as if she is still there. The room, Rebeccas, that Danvers keeps is really weird.

Great post.

Katy F. said...

I've found the narrator to be a bit annoying in the first half, but I can tell the suspense is starting to ratchet up. I also mentioned at Allie's post that I think Ben's comments on Rebecca are indicating that Rebecca may not have been a very nice lady. I think she was the one who threatened to send him to the asylum. I'm looking forward to learning the real story about who Rebecca was, rather than the perfect image that the narrator has created in her mind.

Here's my post on the first half.

Lit Addicted Brit said...

Love this post! I'm glad that, reading it and the comments, the book picks up speed. I've enjoyed what I've read so far but feel like every time the action gets going, we get it set aside for a bit more introspection! Looking forward to reading your thoughts on the second half! :)

Anonymous said...

It definitely picks up in the second half, especially after the ship has run aground.

Laura C. said...

It is funny that one of the main themes in every one's post was: Mrs. Danvers is really creepy. It is totally true that after all these pages we still know almost nothing about the two main characters- Rebecca and the narrator.

Here is the link to my post: http://hawthornescarlet.blogspot.com/2011/01/rebecca-readalong-post-1-chapters-1-15.html

-Love the blog by the way. This is my first time visiting.

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