Rebecca Wn

Essay by PaperNerd ContributorHigh School, 10th grade October 2001

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Who Won? The one character who is always talked about but never appears in the novel is Rebecca. Physically, she does not exist, but she is in every thought of every page. The real winner of the novel is Rebecca, not the narrator. Rebecca is victorious because the narrator and Maxim have an unpleasant marriage, and the painful memories still linger.

Rebecca is victorious because the narrator and Maxim share an unpleasant marriage. Maxim never seems happy because, "he will look lost and puzzled suddenly, all expression dying away from his dear face as though swept clean by an unseen hand, and in its place a mask will form, a sculptured thing, formal and cold, beautiful still but lifeless (5)." Another example of their bad marriage is the fact that the narrator acts more like a servant than a wife. She aims to please Maxim rather than herself by trying to "read English news, yes, and English sport, politics and pomposity, but in the future keep the things that hurt to herself alone (7)."

Even the way that the couple lives is an example that their marriage is not a success. The narrator describes their hotel as being "dull, and the food indifferent, and that day after day dawns very much the same"¦We live very much by routine (6)." Earlier, the narrator had said that she "was free of her [Rebecca] forever (285)," but this isn't true because her and Maxim are now living in a little hotel because "we should meet too many of the people he knows in any of the big hotels (6)." All evidence points to the fact that the couple is not having a successful marriage.

Another reason that Rebecca is victorious is that painful memories of the couple's old life are still very much alive. When the narrator says, "our happiness has not come too late (285)," it is a lie because her nightmare from the present time indicates she is unhappy. The narrator is always thinking of the happy times at Manderley because she remembers "the rose-garden in the summer, the birds that sang at dawn, tea under the chestnut tree, and Happy Valley (4)." Because " the day would lie before us both, long no doubt, and uneventful (4)," the narrator needs some happy memories. The reason there is such pain is because "the past is still too close to us. The things we have tried to forget and put behind us would stir again, and that sense of fear, of furtive unrest, struggling at length to blind unreasoning panic- now mercifully stilled- might in some manner unforeseen become a living companion, as it had been before (5)." The reader gets an idea that the narrator is still not over Rebecca when the narrator describes that "a lilac had mated with a copper beech, and to bind them yet more closely to one another the malevolent ivy, always an enemy to grace, had thrown her tendrils about the pair and made them prisoners (3)," in her nightmare.

Rebecca is the one who is victorious because the narrator and Maxim are never truly happy after they leave Manderley. Both are always watching what they say and think due to their thoughts of Rebecca. Because their marriage is a failure and the unhappy memories still linger, Rebecca has defeated both the narrator and Maxim