"Rebecca" By Daphne Du Maurier Thesis Essay

1894 words - 8 pages

The way an individual is seen and the impression that person makes upon others determines the way that person is treated. If one has charisma and self confidence in one's own abilities, those around unconsciously recognise this trait and are inclined to respond with respect. In Daphne du Maurier's novel "Rebecca", the narrator Mrs de Winter's lack of self confidence and assertion are responsible for the lack of respect she receives from others. In comparison, when a character, such as Charlotte Bronte's Jane Eyre has self confidence, she earns the respect of both other characters and herself. Mrs de Winter in Rebecca, is a young woman who openly admits to herself and her readers that she is "a martyr to [her] own inferiority complex"; she, like a martyr, is willing to sacrifice her very life to assure those around her that she is indeed not so impressive or important as others -or in her case- the late Rebecca(p 141). Since her first arrival in her new home, Manderley, Mrs de Winter has become obsessed with its former mistress Rebecca, who from beyond the grave, destroys the narrator's confidence and so influences her every thought and action. The narrator has never resisted this behavioural pattern, due to a lack of confidence in herself and the success of the marriage she has begun. Since her days working as a companion for the socially parasitic Mrs van Hopper, the narrator has allowed herself to be used by others, and "hating [her] errand", but unwilling to refuse its execution, she fulfilled it, imposing upon the lives of others at the behest of her employer, simply because she was unwilling to confront another, more socially superior person, and illuminate the intrusion to the lives of others (p16). Instead, Mrs de Winter complies, aiding the infliction of misery onto others before sitting "silent and attentive" having insufficient security in her own opinions, knowledge and conversational skills to contribute to the encounter or to leave an impression upon others, emphasising her almost complete lack of personality and charisma for fear of blundering in the conversation. It is the narrator's belief that she was a "raw, ex-schoolgirl, red-elbowed and lanky-haired" rather than a person in her own right, deserving of respect and an opinion (p16). This emphasises the lack of appreciation the narrator has for herself. As she constantly demeans herself, others who observe this masochistic chastisement are almost encouraged to do the same, and they frequently do, referring to the narrator as a "child" rather than the adult which she occasionally pronounces herself to be (pp 16, 20). Again allowing herself to be used, Mrs de Winter's desperation to be accepted by the society surrounding Manderley forces her to endure and participate in an experience for which she has no desire. The keen socialites of the area insist that she "get round [her] husband" in order to give the Manderley Fancy Dress Ball, flattering her with the...

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