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Is there a breakdown per chapter for Daphne Du Maurier's Rebecca?  

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cjschramko | (Level 1) Honors

Posted April 25, 2012 at 1:48 PM via web

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Is there a breakdown per chapter for Daphne Du Maurier's Rebecca?

 

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booboosmoosh | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Educator Emeritus

Posted April 25, 2012 at 6:59 PM (Answer #1)

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There is not a break down for each chapter, but there is a summary organized by the major plot developments of the story.

The introduction to the story, entitled, "The Future," begins with the famous quote...

Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again.

This segment gives a description of the country estate that was once magnificent. The narrator now travels around the world; in reading English newspapers, she recounts her past—one that includes her male companion. A cursory introduction is also made of other important characters in Daphne Du Maurier's novel, Rebecca. Near the end of this section, the narrator flashes back to when her life changed forever—in Monte Carlo when she was a companion to the wealthy Mrs. Van Hopper.

The next part is called "The Hotel Cote d'Azur" and conveys the details of the narrator's servitude to a disagreeable woman who thinks herself to be grander than she really is. It is here that the narrator meets Maxim de Winter, a widower. The relationship with de Winter and the unnamed narrator grows. When Mrs. Van Hopper decides to return to America, de Winter announces that he and the narrator are to be married.

"The Uncomfortable Months" is a rather tame title for what confronts the narrator as she and her new husband return to his estate, Manderley, after an extended honeymoon. It is here that she realizes with great clarity the difference between her husband's station and her own: he is a man of money, but she has no experience with this kind of life. Mrs. Danvers, the housekeeper who served Rebecca (the previous Mrs. de Winter), does all she can to make the narrator's life miserable. Most especially is the "presence" of Rebecca: memories that Danvers will not allow to die. The narrator is an outsider; and she realizes how little she knows her husband. We also meet Jack Favell, another with a history with Rebecca.

"The Masquerade" describes a complete disaster, as the narrator (with Danver's "help") copies a dress to wear that Rebecca wore to the same event years before. Unintentionally, the narrator stirs painful memories for Maxim, and she feels even more isolated, while Danvers is well-satisfied.

"The Sunken Boat" introduces a startling development, and the mysterious mood of the tale intensifies. The boat has Rebecca's dead body in it, though Maxim had identified another body found up the coast as Rebecca. He admits to his new wife that he killed Rebecca and sank the boat with her body on it. While his new wife had worried that Maxim still loved Rebecca, she learns that he really loves her. There is an inquest (searching for cause of death), but Maxim is cleared of any guilt when the court rules that Rebecca committed suicide.

Favell, however, tries to blackmail Maxim with a letter Rebecca had written to him, asking Favell to meet her that day. Favell admits his affair with Rebecca, and insists she was murdered. Maxim refuses to pay Favell and calls for the law. The group drives to London the following day. There they meet with Rebecca's physician who announces that Rebecca was dying of cancer. This further convinces the "magistrate" that Rebecca took her life. It seems Rebecca did all she could to make Maxim kill her so she could escape a painful end—while also destroying Maxim.

When Danvers receives this news, she sets Manderley ablaze and leaves. The closing of the story describes the return of Mr. and Mrs. de Winter, and the sight of Manderley before them—burning to the ground.

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