Societal Clashes in Rebecca

Published: 2021-07-02 00:55:05
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Category: Experience

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Rebecca, written by Daphne Du Maurier and published in 1938, is often viewed by most people as a mystery, thriller or romance. This novel takes place in beautiful Manderly, a mansion which is supposed to be symbolic to the British Empire at the time. The main issue of this novel is the theme of class. In the novel, the narrator who comes from humble beginnings meets and marries a very wealthy man named Maxim. Over time the narrator has many problems transitioning into her new environment at Manderly.
Attributable to the conflict and discrimination between the aristocracy and the upcoming middle class, the narrator has a lot of struggles because she does not feel sophisticated enough to be associated with the aristocracy. The narrator’s struggle to fit in as an aristocrat is shown in the fancy ball scene. The fancy ball is a famous costume ball hosted by Maxim in Manderly. It brings everyone, upper or lower class, together. To the narrator, the fancy ball is an extravagant event where she can prove that she is an aristocrat and is capable of acting accordingly in these situations. She feels that her new husband, Maxim and other people view her as the unsophisticated, naive girl she sees herself as: “I wished he would not always treat me as a child, rather spoilt, rather irresponsible, someone to be petted from time to time when the mood came upon him, but more often forgotten, more often patted on the shoulder and told to run away and play” (Chapter 16).The narrator wishes she was more wise and more mature. Mrs. Danvers, the main household maid, and admirer of Rebecca, believes that the narrator is not sophisticated enough to transition to the aristocracy. Because of this, she sabotages her by persuading her to choose the dress Rebecca wore to the previous fancy ball, knowing it would upset Maxim: “You should study the pictures in the gallery, Madam, if I were you, especially the one I mentioned” (Chapter 16). Bernard Frank’s article agrees with the conflict and discrimination that the difference in classes brings.
Certain people not being accepted according to their class is mainly discussed by Frank. Maxim de Winter is an example of a stubborn, yet big hearted aristocrat, whereas Rebecca who is just an evil, conniving person: “Within that empire to forces have been at work, the exploitive, evil aristocrats represented by Rebecca, and the benevolent but passive ones represented by Maxim de Winter” (Chapter 18). Beatrice, Maxim’s sister and Giles, Maxim’s brother-in-law, are considered notable people of the aristocracy. Notwithstanding, Frank is considered to be part of the tedious upcoming-middle class: “Maxim’s sister and brother-in-law are the inept aristocracy, well-meaning but complacent. Frank Crawley represents the “boring” but ever-so-honest middle-class” (Chapter 18).

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