Rebecca Readalong: Week 3

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We are now 75% through Daphne du Maurier’s classic novel Rebecca! If you are just joining us, be sure to check out the full readalong schedule.

This week we read chapters 16-21. Please be aware this post contains spoilers for the first 21 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. Why do you think the narrator decided to trust Mrs. Danvers and wear the costume she suggested to the fancy dress ball?

Lilyn: She is a twit. A brainless, naive twit.

Laurie: She is very insecure and has an undying desire to please and blindly trust people. Even wretched people. This is what I feel is behind her trusting Danvers with the costume idea.

Tracy: I think she’s grasping for acceptance however she can get it. Because of this, she’s apt to trust people too quickly. Side note: honestly, I thought maybe Danvers was softening towards her – oops.

Gracie: I think she was desperately hoping that Danvers had finally accepted her at last. She seemed even more concerned about Danvers’ approval sometimes even more than Maxim’s.

Toni: I think that she is too naive and that is why she is trusting Danvers.

Emily: She desperately wanted Maxim’s approval and attention – she felt that if she could show off with a costume, she might feel more like she fit in. Maybe a bit of wanting to be better than Rebecca, too.

Cat: Deceit was a foreign concept to her, apparently. In all seriousness, she relies upon acceptance, and she considers herself nothing until she gains the approval of those around her. She’d do well with a therapist.

2.How to you feel about the narrator’s choice to come back downstairs after discovering she chose the same costume as Rebecca?

Lilyn: She’s a twit who occasionally grows a pair.

Laurie: I feel the pressure was too much for her. The party was in her honor and it would’ve looked very bad on her and her marriage if she were a no show and she was very concerned about the thoughts of other people.

Tracy: Hats off to her. Because I would’ve grabbed a bottle of wine on the way up and locked the door behind me.

Gracie: Even though she basically did it to save face I did begrudgingly admire her for it. I think it helped that only a few people had seen what happened.

Toni: She was trying to make a point. Possibly trying to grow a pair to show that it didnt bother her.

Emily: It was a bold choice to come back downstairs. I probably would have stayed in my room pouting and drinking after the reaction.

Cat: Actually, I gave her credit for that. Probably the most ballsy thing she’s done so far.

3. Did you correctly guess what happened to Rebecca?

Lilyn: Nope.

Tracy: Yes! Kind of. I said he killed her accidentally and staged the drowning. Not so much an accident.

Jen: I thought Maxim’s temper was going to be a red herring. Nope, he was as awful as he sounded.

Toni: Nope.

Emily: HELL YES I CORRECTLY GUESSED WHAT HAPPENED TO REBECCA. It’s the only thing I have going for me right now.

Cat: No. I wasn’t even close.

4. With the truth coming to light, do you think the narrator’s reaction to Maxim’s grisly confession was realistic and true to her character?

Lilyn: Yes, because as I’ve already pointed out, she’s a twit.

Laurie: Yeah she was a naive young thing and blinded by love and she was so relieved that he didn’t love Rebecca that I don’t think she cared about the fact that he was a MURDERER!!

Gracie: As much as it creeps me out yes, I think it fit with her character very well.

Toni: Yes, she doesn’t care that he murdered his first wife. That would totally be a deal breaker.

Emily: Yes, I would say it’s true to her character because it was delusional and desperate. She made it about herself instead of actually being concerned about what he was saying.

Cat: I was actually surprised she so blatantly dismissed, and glossed over, the murder. I understand that love can blind, and I understand she has obsessive tendencies, but to kill another human being, premeditated at that, actually seemed to be beyond what her simple mind could conceive. Anger issues is one thing, Rebecca being a distasteful person is also one thing, but MURDER?

5. Do you think the narrator has officially grown a spine, or do you think she’s going to revert back to her old ways?

Lilyn: She’s a half-spined twit. As long as Maxim doesn’t say something vaguely not nice to her, she’ll be fine.

Laurie: It’s not in her nature to be strong. She will do whatever it takes to make Maxim happy. If that means taking charge and bossing people around, she’ll fake it till she makes it.

Toni: I think she is doing what Laurie said faking it till she makes it.

Emily: I want to hope she’s finally grown a spine, but I feel like she’ll probably revert back to her old ways. She has moments of boldness, but I don’t know if it can stick.

Cat: I don’t think she’s necessarily grown a spine. Her strength of character, and lack thereof, is wholly dependent on the man in her life. Now that she knows the truth – that Maxim didn’t love Rebecca, and that he murdered her – her self-worth has grown, or so she believes. It’s a toxic environment, to say the least.

Quotes

Here are some of our favorite quotes from chapters 16-21 of Rebecca:

“He knows she sees him, he knows she comes by night and watches him. And she doesn’t come kindly, not she, not my lady.” – Mrs. Danvers

I felt very much the same as I did the morning I was married. The same stifled feeling that I had gone too far now to turn back.

Manderley had come alive in a fashion I would not have believed possible. It was not the still, quiet Manderley I knew.

My own dull personality was submerged at last.

We had to endure it alone, we had to put up this show, this miserable, sham performance for the sake of all these people I did not know and did not want to see again.

It’s always Rebecca, Rebecca, Rebecca.

He knows she sees him, he knows she comes by night and watched him. And she doesn’t come kindly, not he, not my lady. She was never one to stand mute and still and be wronged.

She cared for nothing and no one. And then she was beaten in the end.

She’s the real Mrs. de Winter, not you. It’s you that’s the shadow and the ghost.

I belonged there, and Manderley belonged to me.

We’re not meant for happiness, you and I.

It doesn’t make for sanity, does it, living with the devil?

There were no shadows between us any more, and when we were silent it was because the silence came to us of our own asking.

I am afraid it does not concern me very much what Mrs. de Winter used to do…I am Mrs. de Winter now, you know.

It’s a universal instinct of the human species, isn’t it, that desire to dress up in some sort of disguise?

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 the rest of Rebecca, and we’ll be posting our final set of discussion questions Sunday, December 2. We hope you’ve all enjoyed the book and/or the discussion so far.

 

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28 Comments Add yours

  1. latasha says:

    1. I’m totally with Tracy on this one. I thought old hussy was softening up! Mrs. de Winter must not have a creative bone in her body! She has no limit to the money she can spend and she can’t come up with a costume idea? oh come on!
    2.i’m stubborn so I probably would’ve said screw u Max and stayed and tried or fake having a great time. She reminded me of a pouting child that got over it and came back around.
    3. I already knew
    4. yes! She realizes she doesn’t have any competition anymore and basking in it. Honey, he killed his wife. hang on a minute! but she’s just over the moon to realize she has Max all to her self now.
    5. I think she will go back to her old ways as soon as someone stands up to her or gets the slightest bit bossy with her.

    lol, I love Lilyn’s comments. you really do not like her huh? :p

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Lilyn G says:

      I hate her! Her moping, her weakness, her passivity, her gullibility, everything about this ‘woman’ (I say that like that because she obviously hasn’t grown up yet) turns me off.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Yes, the lack of creativity is so strange!

      Like

  2. Michelle says:

    Lilyn, I’m 100% in agreement with you!!! She is such a pushover and of course Maxim decided to marry her, she’s the complete opposite of Rebecca! Even his comment to her that “there is a certain type of knowledge I prefer you not to have. It’s better kept under lock and key” when she is imagining herself as Rebecca and had a “deceitful” look. So, he wants her dumb and dull, and that’s what she seems to be. Rebecca may not have been innocent, but rather than deal with the shame and calling the marriage quits, Maxim and everyone who could see she wasn’t very good let it build to murder. “The silence that I had always taken for sympathy and regret was a silence born of shame and embarrassment.” If this doesn’t sum up everything and everyone in this book so far, then I don’t know what does. Our narrator is, as Lilyn points out, a twit who grew half a spine to come down after the dress incident, so her ignoring/glossing over murder makes perfect sense for her character. Maxim hated Rebecca! And she is nothing like her! Yay! Thats all that matters to her. Yall know that saying “ride or die”….yeah, that’s all I kept thinking about the narrator. She thinks it’s out of loyalty and love, but really she just wants..needs Maxim’s approval and she will never question him so long as they stay together. Maxim is one of those that needs to keep up appearances, and Rebecca seemed too perfect until this point, so I figured he had to have killed her. I don’t think our narrator ever really left her level of spinelessness other than to come back down out of worry of what everyone would think, so yes I thi k she will revert unless she needs to help Maxim keep his appearances.

    I have to add…Danvers is giving me Annie Wilkes vibes. She seems very off her rocker and obsessed with Rebecca to the point of trying to drive Mrs. De Winter to suicide! If she finds what has happened….I can’t begin to imagine the level of craziness she will reach. This section, while driving me crazy because our narrator is just dumb, definitely got my attention and interest.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Yesss, Danvers is a manipulative creeper!

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Danvers is obsessed! (But honestly, our narrator is, too…)

      Liked by 1 person

      1. She is overly obsessed with Rebecca if you ask my opinion. She is all she thinks about. It really is creepy LOL.

        Like

    3. Lilyn G says:

      Yeah, when he made that comment about certain type of knowledge he would prefer her not to have, it was so cringe-worthy.

      Like

  3. Kimberly says:

    1. I LOVE Lilyn’s comments! “She’s a twit!!” LMAO. Actually, that’s just pointing it out in bold fashion. To be nicer, I’ll say “naive”; though essentially they mean the same. 😉 I believe she was so desperate to feel like she “belonged” there, that she blindly trusted Ms. Danvers because she WANTED to believe she was warming up to her. Honestly, I felt this was pretty stupid on her part, as Ms. Danvers emphasis on that particular picture was a huge giveaway that “something” was being plotted. After her hero-worship guided tour of Rebecca’s room, I honestly thought Ms.Danvers was in love with her former employer.

    2. I will grudgingly give her credit for going back downstairs, as I would have sent for bottles of wine to be guzzled in my own room. Again, she does this not for herself, but because she thinks Max and Beatrice (to a lesser concern) would be MORE upset with her if she DIDN’T make an appearance and attempt to pretend that nothing was wrong. Once more, she is doing this to try to win Max’s approval and smooth things over with him. (I think she should have immediately said, “Ms. Danvers said this was the perfect choice for me.”, instead of standing there taking the heat for what should have been obvious (even to her) that it was a setup.

    3. I give myself 75% credit for the guess. I figured she was murdered, and having an affair (especially with Jack), but I wasn’t sure if Maxim or Ms. Danvers killed her. (I thought Ms. Danvers could have been one of her lovers, or simply WANTED to be).

    4. Again, Lilyn’s “twit” comment wins this one!! She was so “RELIEVED” to find that Max did NOT love or even LIKE Rebecca, that she couldn’t have cared less if he told her he murdered the entire household. She finally realizes that Rebecca was not the “beloved” first wife, and absolves Max of any wrongdoing because she finally feels like he “loves her” for the first time since they met.

    5. I don’t think she’s grown a spine. If anything, I think she is only trying to protect Max because she’s so needy and still wants him to love her. She doesn’t want to go on being alone, so she won’t even think of his MURDERING someone as wrong. She’s only covering for him, because she is desperate to keep his affections. Much like a loyal dog…..

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I still think Danvers is in love with Rebecca, even if they don’t outright say it.

      As for the rest of the questions, the characters are just all so delusional 😂.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Anne says:

        I feel like Rebecca/Danvers slash fic definitely exists out there.

        Like

    2. I was thinking the same thing trying to figure out if it was Maxim or Danvers.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Anne says:

    1. It was epic stupidity to trust Mrs. Danvers, especially after the Jack episode. I agree with the LOHF team that a combination of a pathological need for acceptance and an intensely naive outlook led her down that path. I almost wonder if she sort of suspected what was actually going on, with all her comments about giving Maxim the shock of his life, etc.

    2. I had a slightly different take on her decision to go downstairs. I don’t think she was ovumming up at all – I got the sense that it was an entirely fear-based decision based on her worrying what people would say. In this section, we also got to see that this obsession with keeping up appearances is actually something she has in common with shoot-a-pregnant-woman-rather-than-be-gossipped-about Maxim. I would have respected her if she’d demanded to know why everyone was so upset instead of allowing herself to be ordered upstairs to change, or even if she’d refused to attend a party because she was understandably upset and wasn’t afraid to stand up for her own needs.

    3. The first time, no – I did suspect murder, and I think I may have suspected Mrs. Danvers.

    4. Woof. I think it’s consistent with her character, but really disappointing. I mean, Maxim straight up murdered Rebecca dead for not fitting his definition of womanhood, right? Mayyyyybe she really was a sociopath, but she really sounded more like a smart woman ill-suited for monogamy trapped in a very rigid social structure to me. I definitely liked or at least was interested in Rebecca more than just about anyone else in the book this time around.

    5. I don’t think she’s grown a spine, at all. I think growing a spine would have involved her packing up and leaving Manderley to be alone to figure out who she is and what she wants. Instead, she takes what I thought was a pretty dark turn. She willingly helps Maxim cover up a pretty horrible murder and starts being hateful to servants. Yay? Basically, she’s stepping into a template that’s half Maxim’s Ideal and half Mini Rebecca. There are all these moments in this section that play with the idea of Rebecca “possessing” her, and in the end it feels like she does get irrevocably possessed by aristocratic ideals.

    Like

  5. Tanya | MiracleNest says:

    1. I do think she was being naive in trusting her, but I also think Danvers was being pretty manipulative. I knew there was something not right about that situation, but I don’t really see how the narrator could have foreseen anything going wrong regarding a dress recommendation.
    2. She said herself that the only reason she came down was because she couldn’t stand the idea of people talking about her. So really it wasn’t her being brave, it was her insecurity that brought her down to the dance.
    3. I didn’t! I knew it was a theory floating around but I didn’t really see it playing out, and it did! I honestly thought Danvers had something to do with it haha
    4. This was my only complaint about the book! Even though it does seem true of her character, it doesn’t seem very realistic. I mean, not one word, or thought or worry that her husband MURDERED his first wife?! I mean yeah she was a biddy but that’s still murder. But then again I was rooting for that murderer and his new young wife so…
    lol
    5. I basically agree with what everyone else had to say about this topic. Like Cat said, her self-worth has grown but it was all revolved around revelations about Maxim.

    Like

  6. Tanya | MiracleNest says:

    1) I do think she was being naive in trusting her, but I also think Danvers was being pretty manipulative. I knew there was something not right about that situation, but I don’t really see how the narrator could have foreseen anything going wrong regarding a dress recommendation.
    2) She said herself that the only reason she came down was because she couldn’t stand the idea of people talking about her. So really it wasn’t her being brave, it was her insecurity that brought her down to the dance.
    3) I didn’t! I knew it was a theory floating around but I didn’t really see it playing out, and it did! I honestly thought Danvers had something to do with it haha
    4) This was my only complaint about the book! Even though it does seem true of her character, it doesn’t seem very realistic. I mean, not one word, or thought or worry that her husband MURDERED his first wife?! I mean yeah she was a biddy but that’s still murder. But then again I was rooting for that murderer and his new young wife so…
    lol
    5) I basically agree with what everyone else had to say about this topic. Like Cat said, her self-worth has grown but it was all revolved around revelations about Maxim.
    And I finished it because I couldn’t put it down towards the end!

    Like

    1. You and I are having the same thoughts, Tanya. I may have cheated and finished, too, after that last section. LOL.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Tanya | MiracleNest says:

        Lol! Yay!

        Like

  7. Anne says:

    1. It was epic stupidity to trust Mrs. Danvers, especially after the Jack episode. I agree with the LOHF team that a combination of a pathological need for acceptance and an intensely naive outlook led her down that path. I almost wonder if she sort of suspected what was actually going on, with all her comments about giving Maxim the shock of his life, etc.

    2. I had a slightly different take on her decision to go downstairs. I don’t think she was ovumming up at all – I agree with Tanya above that it was an entirely fear-based decision based on her worrying what people would say. In this section, we also got to see that this obsession with keeping up appearances is actually something she has in common with shoot-a-pregnant-woman-rather-than-be-gossipped-about Maxim. I would have respected her if she’d demanded to know why everyone was so upset instead of allowing herself to be ordered upstairs to change, or even if she’d refused to attend a party because she was understandably upset and wasn’t afraid to stand up for her own needs. Both of those seem like braver choices to me.

    3. The first time I read it, no – I did suspect murder, and I think I may have suspected Mrs. Danvers, but I remember the “I shot her” line shocking me.

    4. Woof. I think it’s consistent with her character, but really disappointing. I mean, Maxim straight up murdered Rebecca dead for not fitting his definition of womanhood, right? Mayyyyybe she really was a sociopath, but she really sounded more like a smart woman ill-suited for monogamy trapped in a very rigid social structure to me. I definitely liked or at least was interested in Rebecca more than just about anyone else in the book this time around.

    5. I don’t think she’s grown a spine, at all. I think growing a spine would have involved her packing up and leaving Manderley to figure out who she is and what she wants. Instead, she takes what I thought was a pretty dark turn. She willingly helps Maxim cover up a pretty horrible murder and starts being hateful to the Manderley staff. Yay? Basically, she’s stepping into a template that’s half Maxim’s Ideal and half Mini Rebecca. There are all these moments in this section that play with the idea of Rebecca “possessing” her, and in the end it feels like she does get irrevocably possessed by aristocratic ideals.

    Thanks for hosting this, LOHF – I’m really enjoying seeing what everybody thinks and taking some time to try to more thoroughly process what I’m reading!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m loving that everyone was pegging Mrs. Danvers as being involved. She’s a sinister lady.

      You’re welcome! We are so glad you are joining in!

      Like

  8. Mia says:

    1) I think she wants to fit in and be liked. So she blindly went with her suggestion. 2) I felt it was really brave of her. It would have looked bad if she hadn’t went downstairs. 3) No! My jaw fell open. I thought that maybe she had faked her death definitely did not expect that. 4) Yes, she seems to be grasping for love and acceptance wherever she can. 5) This remains to be seen. So far she seems to have grown a pair but I don’t know if it will last.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Mia……If it helps I thought she faked her death as well.

      Like

    2. Lilyn G says:

      I totally thought at first that she had faked her death.

      Like

  9. I wondered originally if she faked her death as well.

    Like

  10. janlmayes says:

    Love all the great answers!

    Like

  11. *First, let me say I don’t understand the hate for the narrator! Am I the only one who sees her as interesting? LOL, ok.*

    1. I think the narrator trusts Ms. Danvers because she is naive and inexperienced. It’s simple. We have to keep in mind this girl has no companionship, especially female companionship. I think her ability to trust, screw up, trust again, is admirable. A little pathetic at times, but admirable.

    2. This is what I am saying. The girl makes a fool out of herself and returns to the party. Why do we automatically feel she’s such a nitwit. In a decade, she will literally have given no fucks for anything.

    3. I expected foul play with Rebecca. I didn’t think the guy killed her. Not okay.

    4. The narrator’s reaction to Maxim killing his ex wife is another reason I find her interesting. I personally would not be okay with this, but they’re basically like Bonnie and Clyde now.

    5. We get the story eventually through the narrator. I don’t think the narrator would revert to her ways. She’s spineless because she knows no other way to be. We would all be spineless approaching something for the first time. As I said, I imagine her giving zero fucks after they move out of Manderley.

    Like

    1. Laurie | Bark says:

      Bonnie & Clyde, haha. That’s accurate, I think.

      Liked by 1 person

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