Rebecca Readalong: Week 2

 

We are halfway through Daphne du Maurier’s classic novel Rebecca! If you are just joining us, be sure to check out last week’s discussion of the first 8 chapters as well as the full readalong schedule.

This week we read chapters 9-15. Please be aware this post contains spoilers for the first 15 chapters of Rebecca.

The LOHF team has posted and answered some discussion questions below. We’d love to hear your thoughts as well!

Discussion

1. This was a very entertaining week for the LOHF team as we read and discussed Rebecca. There may have allegedly been bets placed on what really happened to Rebecca (if she is in fact deceased). Without spoiling anything (don’t answer if you already know!), what do you think happened to Rebecca?

Emily: think that Maxim murdered Rebecca in the cottage. I’m not sure what would have led to it (most likely an affair), but something shady went down in that cottage.

Toni: She ran off with some dude she was having an affair with.

Cat: I speculated that she took her own life – jumped off the boat and into the sea. I do believe there’s much more to Rebecca than the perfect housewife. Her own private cottage could tell us she wasn’t entirely happy with her marriage and sought some sort of freedom. Now that I think about it, maybe she’s not even dead at all, but faked it to escape her misery.

Jen: I’m not trusting creepy Mrs. Danvers. I’m betting she was involved in Rebecca’s demise.

2. Do you think Danvers is actually spying on the narrator?

Lilyn: Yes, of course. She’s an obsessed old biddy and this new lady is in the REAL mistress’s house.

Emily: Yes, I do think she’s spying on the narrator. I’m not sure if it’s for herself, or for someone else, but she seems to be watching the narrator.

Laurie: Danvers is definitely a creepy obsessive type of personality. I would put nothing past her.

Toni: She is totally spying on the narrator. But the question is for who.

Cat: I think she’s certainly keeping an eye on her. The narrator is an unknown entity, and perhaps Danvers believes her trespassing on Rebecca’s territory. After all, she displays obsessive behaviour when it comes to the former Mrs de Winter.

3. How do you feel about the narrator comparing herself to Jasper? Getting small tokens of affection from Maxim when he remembers she’s in the room.

Emily: It’s sad but fitting that the narrator compares herself to Jasper. I adore dogs, but I would not want to be in a place where I’m comparing my relationship with my partner to my relationship with my dog. She deserves better, and it’s annoying that she can’t recognize that. Clearly she’s okay with being kept as a pet, at least for now.

Lilyn: I think the narrator is a mostly pathetic non-entity that would have been more interesting by far AS a dog.

Laurie: I think it’s painful to read those thoughts and wish she would speak up for herself.

Toni: I think it is pretty sad. But she has resigned herself to this life that she married into.

Cat: Comparing herself to the dog says a lot about her self-worth, and her marriage. It puts emphasis on the lack of equality between them. Does Maxim even see her as a woman? It strikes me that she’s merely a replacement – a young and impressionable girl expected to fill a role. Somewhere inside herself she probably even knows that.

4. When this book was written Danvers State Hospital was still a functioning asylum. Do you think Du Maurier chose the name with that in mind at all?

Emily: I had not heard the info about the asylum, but that’s interesting. It’s possible.

Lilyn: Possibly. Most of this was written while she was in Egypt so, I doubt it…but maybe.

Laurie: It’s too much of a coincidence for her not to have connected the two, I think.

Toni: Danvers is in the US and Daphne was writing in the UK so I am not sure if there was any cross over there.

5. With the introduction of several new characters – Beatrice, Frank, Ben, Jack – is there anyone in particular that you think will have relevance, or even play a larger role, in the overall conclusion?

Emily: I think that Ben and Jack will both have some sort of larger role later on. They both seem to have information that could affect the narrator’s life.

Lilyn: Ben definitely knows something / saw something he shouldn’t have. He said as much.

Toni: I think that Beatrice is going to play a larger role. I am not sure how but I think that she is going to be a key to the whole thing.

Cat: I think they all will have some level of relevance. Beatrice might continue to be a friend to the protagonist, Frank as well, whilst Ben and Jack are the mysterious figures right now. Ben in particular has said some peculiar things, I’m positive whatever interactions he previously had with Rebecca will come to the forefront.

Quotes

Here are some of our favorite quotes from chapters 9-15 of Rebecca:

I wondered why it was that places are so much lovelier when one is alone.

They only came to call at Manderley because they were curious and prying.

Dear God, I did not want to think about Rebecca.

Why must I be the one to supply the interest, and have all the criticism?

I was like a guest, biding my time, waiting for the return of the hostess.

Because life at Manderley is the only thing that ever interests anybody down here.

We are happy, aren’t we? Terribly happy?

I feel her everywhere. You do too, don’t you?

 

Do you have any favorite quotes from this section? We would love for you to share them!

Giveaway

Don’t forget we are hosting a giveaway for this readalong!

Prize: We will be giving away one copy of our next readalong selection (to be announced at the end of the Rebecca readalong!) to one randomly selected participant.

How to enter: Comment on our discussion posts throughout the Rebecca readalong to be entered into the giveaway. You will receive one entry each week you join in. In your comment, share your thoughts on the current week’s section of Rebecca, share your favorite quotes, or post a link where we can find your thoughts on the current week’s section.

Next Week

Next week we are reading chapters 16-21, and we’ll be posting more discussion questions Sunday, November 25.

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30 Comments Add yours

  1. Michelle says:

    This section definitely got my interest a little bit more, but I’m just so annoyed with the narrator! I agree that it’s sad she compared herself to the dog and that it says a lot about her self worth, but I’m also in agreement with Lilyn that she seems pathetic. It bothers me most when Max leaves and she feels free and like she actually can enjoy herself now…then she chastises herself for thinking that. Super aggravating! But the whole creepy Danvers and the comments Ben has made have me thinking there is so much more that went on, and I’m very curious to find out what. I think something definitely went on, either Rebecca was murdered or killed herself. She was too perfect and the fact Max found someone “so different” and “placcid” says a lot, I think, about his and Rebecca’s relationship. Maybe he was threatened by her? Danver’s obsession is super creepy, and raises all kinds of red flags.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Yeah the narrator is so self-depreciating and it bothers me too. To me, it’s a sign she can’t really be trusted in the way she narrates the story since she’s both inexperienced and everything’s filtered through her self-depreciating nature.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Oooooooh I had not thought about her being an unreliable narrator. That’s an interesting point.

        Like

      2. Lilyn G says:

        The idea that she is an unreliable narrator is interesting..hmm

        Like

    2. The narrator definitely made a lot of frustrating comments. I can’t wait to find out what happened!

      Like

    3. Lilyn G says:

      Yeah, I have to admit even though I’m not liking the book, I’m still curious as to what happened!

      Like

    4. I find myself talking out loud to the narrator. “I didn’t really mean that…” “Oh, yes you did!” I’m hoping she figures out how to stand up for herself by the end.

      Like

  2. fuonlyknew says:

    Such a fun discussion and readalong idea. It’s been so long since I read this book and now I’m tempted to do so again.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Laurie | Bark says:

      Do it, Laura. Do it! It’s not too late 🙂

      Like

    2. You should read it again and jump in. We are only halfway through. 🙂

      Like

  3. 1. I think Rebecca was either murdered or she ran away with a lover. I found it unsettling that Mr de Winter went alone to identify her body.

    2. No. Although I despise Ms Danvers, I also think that Mrs. de Winters (narrator) is so paranoid and self depreciating. I know many do find her to be pitiful, especially her passive and spineless ways, but I personally see something really brave about her ability to just adapt and mold into the situation she’s been handed. She’s a character without much choice, and her passiveness is her power. But she is also extremely self conscious and paranoid; I hope she outgrows these qualities.

    3. Mr. De Winter does treat the narrator in a shitty manner at times, but I don’t think he wants to nor does so purposefully. This man is lost in his head with Rebecca either from grief or other secrets, but there are times where he is kind with her. Her comparing herself to a dog goes back to her childishness and the fact that she thinks everyone sees her the same way she sees herself. I don’t defend Mr. de Winter, but I don’t think he views her as a dog. He is just more mature and experienced than she is.

    4. I think Rebecca’s “ghost” is a product of Ms Danvers obsession to keep Rebecca “alive”. I personally think she’s sick mentally and obsessed. I didn’t know about the Danvers asylum but it would make sense naming this character after it.

    5. Ben is the first clue we get that Rebecca wasn’t who she is made out to be. She certainly is different than the narrator, but not in the way the narrator imagines. I found it spine tingling that Ben refers to the “other one” as having eyes of a snake. I am inclined to believe Ben because although he’s an “idiot”, there’s something innocent and harmless about his nature; if he was afraid of Rebecca, it prompts the question of “who was Rebecca?”

    Quotes: I don’t have a single favorite quote but in these chapters the repetition from different characters that the narrator is so different from Rebecca is suspicious. I feel that the repetition of this statement hints that what makes them different is something we can’t yet imagine.

    “What do you know of any gossip down here?” He said. Is also pretty revealing about what may have been going on behind the scene with Rebecca and Mr de Winter’s marriage.

    Also: Ben: “You’ve got angel eyes…you’re not like the other one.” This sentence leaves much to question.

    Like

  4. Kimberly says:

    1. This being my first read of REBECCA, I definitely have had a few theories that I’ve been entertaining. The one that seems strongest at this point is that Rebecca was having an affair (possibly with Jack) at the cottage. The fact that she spent much time there suggests to me that she wasn’t happy in her marriage–even her books, etc were there! “Something” was going on with her in private, as Ben told the narrator as much with the threat of him going to an asylum if he “said anything”. I think Rebecca was murdered (or the boat sabotaged somehow so that she’d drown when she went out on it) by either Maxim, or Mrs. Danvers (not sure why I feel she may have had a hand in it, unless she was in love with the man (Jack?) Rebecca was meeting up with).

    2. I definitely think Mrs. Danvers is viewing the narrator with distain–I think she doesn’t want her to find out something that would cause a scandal (or worse) to Manderley (the cause of Rebecca’s death/an affair ? Maxim WAS very jumpy when the narrator mentioned “gossip” or something similar). So as for spying, I think she wants her to feel inferior so that she DOESN’T find things out, and decides to leave because “she doesn’t fit in”. Clearly the narrator is a problem (for some reason) to Mrs. Danvers.

    3. It’s horrible to hear her compare herself to Jasper, because that shows the extent of her own self-esteem at this point. She feels as important to her own husband as a dog–convenient, but not necessary unless he wants her there. She is definitely not feeling the way a “wife” should feel. She is still feeling inferior, and I believe finally questioning whether Maxim really loves her. (Inside, I believe she realizes she’s just a “replacement”, but she WANTS so badly to think he loves her).

    4. I didn’t realize that until I saw the question, but thinking about it now, it seems “too coincidental” to be dismissed as mere chance.

    5. Ben definitely knows what Rebecca was up to in the cottage that she didn’t want others to know. Jack and Frank are also people I expect will play larger roles. I think that Jack was either having an affair with Rebecca, or is now with Mrs. Danvers…… Frank being a “friend” to the narrator could be to mislead her….perhaps she should look deeper into his role at Manderley, and if he had been the one having an affair with Rebecca, or merely lusted after her. His comment about her being “the most beautiful woman” was very suspicious…

    Liked by 4 people

    1. I found Maxim’s jumpiness about the gossip really suspicious. Makes me think he may have had something to do with the murder. Maybe jealousy?

      Your point about the narrator self esteem is also good. I feel like she already had zero sense of worth and now she’s constantly being gaslighted by Ms Danvers and others to feel that she’s inferior. Rebecca is all around her, but I feel like the ghost of her is created by everyone’s obsessions.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Kimberly says:

        EXACTLY! I don’t feel “Rebecca’s Ghost” so much, as Mrs. Danvers and everyone’s memories of her. “You can feel her everywhere”. ..

        With Max’s jumping at the gossip, I’m thinking he knew of the affair, and didn’t want the news to get out into the population. After all “All anyone around here is concerned about is Manderley”. He has a “reputation” of a sort to uphold there, and honestly, I think this is why he re-married–to stop people from speculating on anything else, and give them something “safe” to discuss.

        Like

    2. Lilyn G says:

      Yeah, I can believe that a little in-family love was going on between Jack and Rebecca. Didn’t think about maybe Danvers having a thing for Jack, though! Good idea!

      Like

    3. I’m with you on Mrs. Danvers! That is one creepy lady, and she was obsessed with Rebecca.

      Like

  5. 1. I think Rebecca was either murdered or she ran away with a lover. I found it unsettling that Mr de Winter went alone to identify her body.

    2. No. Although I despise Ms Danvers, I also think that Mrs. de Winters (narrator) is so paranoid and self depreciating. I know many do find her to be pitiful, especially her passive and spineless ways, but I personally see something really brave about her ability to just adapt and mold into the situation she’s been handed. She’s a character without much choice, and her passiveness is her power. But she is also extremely self conscious and paranoid; I hope she outgrows these qualities.

    3. Mr. De Winter does treat the narrator in a shitty manner at times, but I don’t think he wants to nor does so purposefully. This man is lost in his head with Rebecca either from grief or other secrets, but there are times where he is kind with her. Her comparing herself to a dog goes back to her childishness and the fact that she thinks everyone sees her the same way she sees herself. I don’t defend Mr. de Winter, but I don’t think he views her as a dog. He is just more mature and experienced than she is.

    4. I think Rebecca’s “ghost” is a product of Ms Danvers obsession to keep Rebecca “alive”. I personally think she’s sick mentally and obsessed. I didn’t know about the Danvers asylum but it would make sense naming this character after it.

    5. Ben is the first clue we get that Rebecca wasn’t who she is made out to be. She certainly is different than the narrator, but not in the way the narrator imagines. I found it spine tingling that Ben refers to the “other one” as having eyes of a snake. I am inclined to believe Ben because although he’s an “idiot”, there’s something innocent and harmless about his nature; if he was afraid of Rebecca, it prompts the question of “who was Rebecca?”

    Quotes: I don’t have a single favorite quote but in these chapters the repetition from different characters that the narrator is so different from Rebecca is suspicious. I feel that the repetition of this statement hints that what makes them different is something we can’t yet imagine.

    “What do you know of any gossip down here?” He said. Is also pretty revealing about what may have been going on behind the scene with Rebecca and Mr de Winter’s marriage.

    Also: Ben: “You’ve got angel eyes…you’re not like the other one.” This sentence leaves much to question.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Laurie | Bark says:

      Ben and the “angel eyes” comment is really telling. I don’t think Rebecca is quite the picture of perfection underneath it all and I cannot wait for all of the secrets to be revealed.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Kimberly says:

        Great point about Ben–that was the first real “comment” we hear about her that is less than “goddess like”. And from someone who “couldn’t” lie…. That says more than it would coming from say, the butler.

        Liked by 3 people

    2. Lilyn G says:

      I think Rebecca was evil. Well, maybe not *evil*, but no good.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I’ve wondered if she’s evil. There is something very chilling about that house and the way people are acting.

        Liked by 1 person

    3. I thought she ran off, too, until we learned there was a body. With the Mr, being the only one to have seen it, though, it makes me wonder!!

      Like

  6. latasha says:

    1. this is a reread. no comment!
    2. i don’t think Mrs. Danvers see Mrs. de Winter as a threat so she isn’t spying. she could never be a great as Rebecca after all. i think she may be keeping an eye & ear open to make sure Mrs de Winter doesn’t learn something she shouldn’t but i don’t think she’s spying.
    3. i think it’s sad but true. Max doesn’t seem to care if she’s around or not.
    4. i agree with Toni on this one.

    I’ve already started chapter 16 and i love the whole first page of it. She’s talking about how all they want to do is be lazy and have tea but everyone keeps showing up lol. hey Mrs. de Winter, i have a spell for that! lol ; )

    Like

  7. Mia says:

    1) She either ran off, killed herself, or got caught in a storm. Even experienced sailers can run into trouble. 2) Yes, spying or plotting. I have a bad feeling about her. 3) I think it’s a fair assessment even though it is sad. Makes me wondered if he married her because he was lonely. 4) That is interesting information. I did not know that. It could be a possibility since authors tend to take things from real life to incorporate into their stories. 5) I think Ben has some relevance. He knew Rebecca and he probably knows what really happened.

    Like

  8. Anne says:

    I’m a re-reader who knows what happened, so I can’t speak to #1 or #5. I do remember how freaked out I was by the scene in Rebecca’s room in Chapter 14 the first time I read it. That whole chapter is such a great example of building dread. Rebecca’s empty stage-lit room full of fresh flowers and recently worn clothing is weird and spooky enough, and then Mrs. Danvers pops up to give her completely deranged monologue. It’s good stuff, and worth paying attention to if you write horror (or anything else, really).

    I’m with Art-and-Stories above in thinking that Mrs. Danvers’ behavior is more gas lighting than actually spying.

    So, the Jasper thing is upsetting and frustrating. I will say, though, that at least it’s self-aware – at this point, she’s letting go of her fantasies about her marriage and she’s starting to grapple with reality (ineffectually, but it’s a start). There’s also a brief moment of role reversal in Chapter 10 where suddenly Maxim is described as being the child (“his eyes questioned me, dark and uncertain, the eyes of a child in pain, a child in fear”). That’s the first time the narrator manages to assume any sort of adult position in the relationship.

    Though the image of her sneaking biscuits in the woods is incredibly pitiful.

    LOHF already pulled my favorite quote from this section (“places are so much lovelier when one is alone”), so here’s my least favorite. I visibly cringed the first time the phrase “sly idiot eyes” came up, and then she just. wouldn’t. stop. saying. it.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Tanya | MiracleNest says:

    1. I honestly have no idea. I definitely do think she is dead though, and I’m leaning towards murdered. But by whom I don’t know.
    2. YESSS. It’s killing me not knowing what her deal is. Danvers is so creepy and obsessive. She’s also another reason why I think Rebecca is definitely deceased; she mentions to the Narrator that Rebecca was found with her arms ripped off. How would she know that though, if Maxim went alone to identify the body? It doesn’t seem like a detail that he’d pass along, but it also doesn’t seem like a detail that she’d make up. Idk, she’s got me all messed up haha.
    3. I just think it’s sad. Like Art & Stories said above, I think Maxim is definitely damaged as well and I don’t think he’s realizing how shitty of a husband he is being. I just keep hoping she starts to feel better about herself.
    4. I had no idea about that lol.
    5. I definitely think Ben will play a bigger role later on, just because he’s the first to mention a “dark” side to Rebecca (she’s always felt evil to me), and it’s through him where we finally get that glimpse. I really want to know what went on in that cottage and what she threatened him over. There’s just so much that needs to be found out!

    Favorite quote from this section:
    “…but I should say that kindliness, and sincerity, and if I may say so – modesty- are worth far more to a man, a husband, than all the wit and beauty in the world.”

    Like

  10. Tanya | MiracleNest says:

    1. I definitely think she is deceased, I just don’t know how it happened.
    2. YESSS. She is all kinds of obsessive and creepy. Another reason why I think Rebecca is actually really dead is because Danvers tells the narrator that the body was found with her arms ripped off. If Maxim went alone to identify the body, why would she know that? It doesn’t seem like a detail Maxim would’ve shared, but it also doesn’t seem like a detail she’d make up. Idk, she’s got me all messed up haha.
    3. I just think it’s sad. Like Art-and-Stories mentioned above, I think Maxim is pretty damaged himself and I don’t think he is meaning to be such a shitty husband. I also agree in thinking she’s being pretty brave trying to adapt to this new situation that is obviously different than how she imagined it would be. I just keep hoping she starts feeling better about herself too.
    4. I had no idea about that haha.
    5. I definitely think Ben is going to come back and play a larger part; through him we get the first glimpse of the darker side of Rebecca (though she’s always felt evil to me). Really wondering what happened in the cottage that made her threaten him? I can see the affair theory playing out. There are so many things to find out!

    Favorite quote from this section:
    “…but I should say that kindliness, and sincerity, and if I may say so – modesty – are worth far more to a man, to a husband, than all the wit and beauty in the world.”

    Like

    1. Laurie | Bark says:

      Ooooh, that is a great quote!

      Like

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