Historical Context

(Short Stories for Students)

The Cold War
Soon after World War II when Russian leader Joseph Stalin set up satellite communist states in Eastern...

(The entire section is 609 words.)

Literary Style

(Short Stories for Students)

Du Maurier uses the setting to reinforce a sense of menace. Her descriptions of the weather and the elements...

(The entire section is 326 words.)

Literary Techniques

(Beacham's Encyclopedia of Popular Fiction)

Obviously, du Maurier’s story of supernatural events and almost unbearable suspense relies most heavily on its author's great talent for...

(The entire section is 488 words.)

Ideas for Group Discussions

(Beacham's Encyclopedia of Popular Fiction)

‘‘The Birds’’ is a disturbing story of suspense that never provides its readers with a resolution. Generic suspense tales bring tidy...

(The entire section is 380 words.)

Social Concerns

(Beacham's Encyclopedia of Popular Fiction)

Since du Maurier's short story ‘‘The Birds’’ never fully resolves itself and since it contains no explanation for the birds’ attack...

(The entire section is 931 words.)

Bibliography and Further Reading

(Short Stories for Students)

Auerbach, Nina. ‘‘Daphne du Maurier,’’ in British Writers. Scribner's, 1996, pp. 133-49....

(The entire section is 355 words.)


(Masterpieces of World Literature, Critical Edition)

Auerbach, Nina. Daphne du Maurier: Haunted Heiress. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2000.

Forster, Margaret. Daphne du Maurier: The Secret Life of the Renowned Storyteller. New York: Doubleday, 1993.

Horner, Avril, and Sue Zlosnik. Writing, Identity, and the Gothic Imagination. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1998.

Kelly, Richard Michael. Daphne du Maurier. Boston: Twayne, 1987.

Shallcross, Martyn. The Private World of Daphne du Maurier. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1991.

Taylor, Helen, ed. The Daphne du Maurier Companion. London: Virago, 2007.

Compare and Contrast

(Short Stories for Students)

  • 1950s: Fear of a Russian attack with nuclear bombs prompts Americans and Europeans to build air raid shelters and...

(The entire section is 142 words.)

Topics for Further Study

(Short Stories for Students)

  • Alfred Hitchcock based his film version of ‘‘The Birds’’ in part on two separate incidents in California when large groups of...

(The entire section is 190 words.)

Literary Precedents

(Beacham's Encyclopedia of Popular Fiction)

Du Maurier’s clearest American predecessor is poet and short story writer Edgar Allen Poe. Like du Maurier, his stories narrate...

(The entire section is 293 words.)

Related Titles

(Beacham's Encyclopedia of Popular Fiction)

The other stories in the collection in which ‘‘The Birds’’ appears explore similar themes related to nature’s power to confound....

(The entire section is 327 words.)


(Beacham's Encyclopedia of Popular Fiction)

Alfred Hitchcock adapted ‘‘The Birds’’ to film in 1963. The film worked from a screenplay written by Evan Hunter that made...

(The entire section is 416 words.)

Media Adaptations

(Short Stories for Students)

  • Alfred Hitchcock directed and produced The Birds for Universal Pictures in 1963. Evan Hunter wrote the screenplay based on du...

(The entire section is 47 words.)

What Do I Read Next?

(Short Stories for Students)

  • Emily Brontë's Wuthering Heights (1847), a tale of love and death on the moors of Yorkshire, has...

(The entire section is 125 words.)