Class Differences In The Novel "Rebecca"

1203 words - 5 pages

In the book, Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier, there exist a big emphasis on social class and position during the time of this story. When we are introduced to the main character of the story, the narrator, we are right away exposed to a society in which different privileges are bestowed upon various groups. Social place, along with the ever present factor of power and money are evident throughout the story to show how lower to middle class groups were treated and mislead by people on a higher level in society. When we are introduced to the narrator, we are told that she is traveling with an old American woman; vulgar, gossipy, and wealthy, Mrs. Van Hopper travels across Europe, but her travels are lonely and require an employee that gives her warm company. This simple companion (the narrator) is shy and self-conscious, and comes from a lower-middle class background which sets up perfect for a rich man to sweep her off her feet. The narrator faced difficulties adapting to first, the Monte Carlo aristocratic environment, and second, to her new found position as Mrs. De Winter, the new found mistress of Manderley.

Throughout our history, we have always witnessed a dissection in society, whether it being between the poor and rich, working class and high class bourgeoisie, or just a nobleman and his apprentice. There was always someone if a lower class engulfing his or her help for a person of a higher class. Social class was established clearly in this book when we meet the narrator and the heroin of this story, as she is a companion of a wealthy American woman. Obviously this woman comes from a higher social level than her companion and you can see how that affects her behavior and material privilege. This woman takes it upon herself to "show-off" all her glamour and wealth, but at the same time unmasks her true nature of gossip and vulgar ness. When you look at an example like this one, you start to think whether or not these upper class people believed in their own morals and if they even had any. But one thing is for sure, such arrogant actions only go a short way until they come back to haunt you. Because Mrs. Van Hopper was so blinded by her own self and worried so much about what was going on in other people's lives, she had lost her attention from her companion friend, which let to a love affair between the narrator and Mr. Maxim de Winter.

Maxim de Winter was a culture, intelligent old man, and the proud carrier of the de Winter name and estate of Manderley. He exemplifies all the traits of a rich upper class gentleman and goes out of his way to take Mrs. Van Hopper's companion out for a little fun. He sees the crude and vulgar treatment that the narrator is going through and tries to compensate for her and treat her in a more appropriate manner. With her modest frame, the narrator accepts such an offer because she knows that her stay in Monte Carlo was only for someone else's benefits and not hers. As in all stories,...

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