Where can an example of 'menacing domesticity' for the narrator be found in du Maurier's Rebecca?(With page number please, if possible, to the Virago 2003 copy of Rebecca)

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kiwi | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Educator

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There are several instances of “menacing domesticity” in the novel. What a great topic!

My choice would be from Chapter 8, where the narrator is in the morning room at Manderley, having been guided by Frith that this is the appropriate place to be to catch up on correspondence. The narrator has no idea how to utilise her time in the house. We feel her discomfort as she does not even know where the room is, and she is watched by Frith as she blunders the wrong way.

The tension increases as the narrator feels more like an invader into her predecessor’s space. When the phone rings she is startled, and Mrs Danvers makes her feel more ridiculous when she says that Mrs de Winter is dead, and yet it is now her title.

The discussion over the daily menu is a great example of "menacing domesticity". The narrator is flustered, and content to let Mrs Danvers make the decisions-

 …just order what you like, Mrs Danvers, you needn’t bother to ask me.

 Mrs Danvers forces the narrator to be involved in the decision-

 It would be better I think if you read the list.

Mrs Danvers continues the torture with regard to the choice of sauce. She highlights the narrator’s lack of confidence and knowledge of fine dining as she explains how the process used to work in the de Winter household-

 You will notice I have left a blank space beside the sauce, for you to mark your preference…Mrs de Winter was most particular about her sauces, and I always had to refer to her.

Mrs Danvers is clearly bullying the narrator: forcing her to realise her inadequacy and inexperience. The incident highlights how simple and out of place the narrator is portrayed to be-

 You have no preference, Madam?

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