VII TOPICS FOR DISCUSSION
1. Mrs. Van Hopper has briefed the young narrator on the history of Manderley and its owner, Maxim de Winter. With her previous knowledge, do you suppose that the narrator has fallen in love with Maxim or with Manderley?
2. Discuss the narrator’s relationship to Mrs. Danvers. Why does Mrs. Danvers dislike the second Mrs. de Winter?
3. What is the significance of the boathouse? Why does Maxim stay away from it?
4. Why is Doctor Baker’s testimony so important to Maxim’s case? Does it make you change your mind about the events surrounding Rebecca’s death?
5. What are some of the objects at Manderley that remind the narrator, Mrs. Danvers, and Maxim of Rebecca?
6. Why is the narrator’s costume a mistake? What is the significance of such an error?
7. Beatrice Lacy, Maxim’s sister, is kind to the second Mrs. de Winter, yet she constantly argues with Maxim. What is the background of her relationship with her brother?
8. Why is Rebecca written in the first person? Does this add to the suspense?
9. The narrator comments, “But Rebecca would never grow old. Rebecca would always be the same. And her I could not fight. She was too strong for me.” Does she prove herself wrong by the end of the novel?
10. Why is it considered odd that Rebecca’s boat sank? What clues are revealed later that indicate foul play?
VIII IDEAS FOR REPORTS AND PAPERS
1. Discuss the way the young narrator slowly collects information on Rebecca’s personality and habits.
2. Read Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre (1847). Do you note any similarities between Thornfield Manor and Manderley? What makes each of these a Gothic novel?
3. Setting is very important to Rebecca. Discuss the significance of the sea, the rooms in Manderley, and the surrounding countryside.
4. At the inquest, certain details of the night that Rebecca died come to light. Why were they not presented earlier? What is the importance of these details?
5. Alfred Hitchcock’s adaptation of Rebecca is one of his most successful films. Watch the movie and compare it to the book. Are there any stylistic similarities between the movie and the book?