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Symbolism In Rebecca

Symbolism in Rebecca

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The following are a few facts about the Gothic novel Rebecca:

  • Rebecca was originally published in 1938
  • Loose adaptation of Jane Eyre
  • Written by English author Daphne du Maurier

Daphne du Maurier's Gothic novel Rebecca uses names as symbols of strength and weakness. The narrator is the story's protagonist but she is never given a first name. That anonymity is a symbol for the female narrator's lack of independence or strength.

Symbolism in the Novel

In contrast, Rebecca is a powerful and manipulative woman. The constant use of her name, including its selection as the novel's title, demonstrates her power over the other characters. Even in death, Rebecca's name is referenced by the other characters. Mrs. Danvers frequently refers to Rebecca while criticizing the narrator. The letter "R" also appears throughout the home, referencing Rebecca's name. For example, when the narrator sees the book's inscription naming Max and Rebecca, she notices that the letter "R" appears stronger than the others. Rebecca eventually triumphs over the story's characters by manipulating Max into killing her.

Symbolism - The Narrator

The narrator is eventually is called Mrs. de Winter as a result of her marriage but she is uncomfortable with the formal title. Sharing the same formal married name as Rebecca does not automatically confer strength. Her marriage makes her dependent upon her husband, who hides the truth from her. She is also bullied by Mrs. Danvers. The narrator is further weakened by her mistaken belief that her husband is still in love with his first wife. Only after exile does the new Mrs. de Winter attain a level of strength. At that point, she has taken up the hobby of learning all of the names of her neighbors and their pets.

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Daphne du Maurier's gothic novel Rebecca uses names as symbols of strength and weakness.

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