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Rebecca is symbolic of evil. The face she portrays to the world is very different from her real self. She shows her evil side only to her husband, flaunting her affairs and misdeeds to his face. Manderley, the house that Rebecca created, is also representative of evil, and in the end, this evil is burned to the ground. Happy Valley still stands, however, representing that good wins out over evil. Happy Valley is considered a paradise that Max and his second wife lose when Manderley is set on fire. The characters who remain loyal to Rebecca are also forces of evil who try to destroy Max's marriage to the protagonist. With the loss of paradise comes the narrator's loss of innocence, which symbolizes ignorance and even danger for the narrator. Du Maurier feels knowledge and experience are necessary for her survival. The narrator goes from innocence and ignorance to knowledge and experience, and this is how she endures her ordeal at Manderley and wins out over Rebecca's "ghost".

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There are numerous symbols in "Rebecca," but one of the more striking ones is the costume that Mrs. de Winter wears to the costume ball. She wears it to show her position in the house, and as a kind of homage to Caroline de Winter, who wore it in the portrait. However, when she wears it to the party, she finds that Rebecca wore it. The costume therefore becomes a symbol of the gap between appearance and reality, of how little she knows the world she's in, and of how powerfully influences the present.

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