We are now 75% through Daphne du Maurier’s classic novel Rebecca! If you are just joining us, be sure to check out the full readalong schedule.
This week we read chapters 16-21. Please be aware this post contains spoilers for the first 21 chapters of Rebecca.
The LOHF team has posted and answered some discussion questions below. We’d love to hear your thoughts as well!
1. Why do you think the narrator decided to trust Mrs. Danvers and wear the costume she suggested to the fancy dress ball?
Lilyn: She is a twit. A brainless, naive twit.
Laurie: She is very insecure and has an undying desire to please and blindly trust people. Even wretched people. This is what I feel is behind her trusting Danvers with the costume idea.
Tracy: I think she’s grasping for acceptance however she can get it. Because of this, she’s apt to trust people too quickly. Side note: honestly, I thought maybe Danvers was softening towards her – oops.
Gracie: I think she was desperately hoping that Danvers had finally accepted her at last. She seemed even more concerned about Danvers’ approval sometimes even more than Maxim’s.
Toni: I think that she is too naive and that is why she is trusting Danvers.
Emily: She desperately wanted Maxim’s approval and attention – she felt that if she could show off with a costume, she might feel more like she fit in. Maybe a bit of wanting to be better than Rebecca, too.
Cat: Deceit was a foreign concept to her, apparently. In all seriousness, she relies upon acceptance, and she considers herself nothing until she gains the approval of those around her. She’d do well with a therapist.
2.How to you feel about the narrator’s choice to come back downstairs after discovering she chose the same costume as Rebecca?
Lilyn: She’s a twit who occasionally grows a pair.
Laurie: I feel the pressure was too much for her. The party was in her honor and it would’ve looked very bad on her and her marriage if she were a no show and she was very concerned about the thoughts of other people.
Tracy: Hats off to her. Because I would’ve grabbed a bottle of wine on the way up and locked the door behind me.
Gracie: Even though she basically did it to save face I did begrudgingly admire her for it. I think it helped that only a few people had seen what happened.
Toni: She was trying to make a point. Possibly trying to grow a pair to show that it didnt bother her.
Emily: It was a bold choice to come back downstairs. I probably would have stayed in my room pouting and drinking after the reaction.
Cat: Actually, I gave her credit for that. Probably the most ballsy thing she’s done so far.
3. Did you correctly guess what happened to Rebecca?
Tracy: Yes! Kind of. I said he killed her accidentally and staged the drowning. Not so much an accident.
Jen: I thought Maxim’s temper was going to be a red herring. Nope, he was as awful as he sounded.
Emily: HELL YES I CORRECTLY GUESSED WHAT HAPPENED TO REBECCA. It’s the only thing I have going for me right now.
Cat: No. I wasn’t even close.
4. With the truth coming to light, do you think the narrator’s reaction to Maxim’s grisly confession was realistic and true to her character?
Lilyn: Yes, because as I’ve already pointed out, she’s a twit.
Laurie: Yeah she was a naive young thing and blinded by love and she was so relieved that he didn’t love Rebecca that I don’t think she cared about the fact that he was a MURDERER!!
Gracie: As much as it creeps me out yes, I think it fit with her character very well.
Toni: Yes, she doesn’t care that he murdered his first wife. That would totally be a deal breaker.
Emily: Yes, I would say it’s true to her character because it was delusional and desperate. She made it about herself instead of actually being concerned about what he was saying.
Cat: I was actually surprised she so blatantly dismissed, and glossed over, the murder. I understand that love can blind, and I understand she has obsessive tendencies, but to kill another human being, premeditated at that, actually seemed to be beyond what her simple mind could conceive. Anger issues is one thing, Rebecca being a distasteful person is also one thing, but MURDER?
5. Do you think the narrator has officially grown a spine, or do you think she’s going to revert back to her old ways?
Lilyn: She’s a half-spined twit. As long as Maxim doesn’t say something vaguely not nice to her, she’ll be fine.
Laurie: It’s not in her nature to be strong. She will do whatever it takes to make Maxim happy. If that means taking charge and bossing people around, she’ll fake it till she makes it.
Toni: I think she is doing what Laurie said faking it till she makes it.
Emily: I want to hope she’s finally grown a spine, but I feel like she’ll probably revert back to her old ways. She has moments of boldness, but I don’t know if it can stick.
Cat: I don’t think she’s necessarily grown a spine. Her strength of character, and lack thereof, is wholly dependent on the man in her life. Now that she knows the truth – that Maxim didn’t love Rebecca, and that he murdered her – her self-worth has grown, or so she believes. It’s a toxic environment, to say the least.
Here are some of our favorite quotes from chapters 16-21 of Rebecca:
“He knows she sees him, he knows she comes by night and watches him. And she doesn’t come kindly, not she, not my lady.” – Mrs. Danvers
I felt very much the same as I did the morning I was married. The same stifled feeling that I had gone too far now to turn back.
Manderley had come alive in a fashion I would not have believed possible. It was not the still, quiet Manderley I knew.
My own dull personality was submerged at last.
We had to endure it alone, we had to put up this show, this miserable, sham performance for the sake of all these people I did not know and did not want to see again.
It’s always Rebecca, Rebecca, Rebecca.
He knows she sees him, he knows she comes by night and watched him. And she doesn’t come kindly, not he, not my lady. She was never one to stand mute and still and be wronged.
She cared for nothing and no one. And then she was beaten in the end.
She’s the real Mrs. de Winter, not you. It’s you that’s the shadow and the ghost.
I belonged there, and Manderley belonged to me.
We’re not meant for happiness, you and I.
It doesn’t make for sanity, does it, living with the devil?
There were no shadows between us any more, and when we were silent it was because the silence came to us of our own asking.
I am afraid it does not concern me very much what Mrs. de Winter used to do…I am Mrs. de Winter now, you know.
It’s a universal instinct of the human species, isn’t it, that desire to dress up in some sort of disguise?
Do you have any favorite quotes from this section? We would love for you to share them!
Don’t forget we are hosting a giveaway for this readalong!
Prize: We will be giving away one copy of our next readalong selection (to be announced at the end of the Rebecca readalong!) to one randomly selected participant.
How to enter: Comment on our discussion posts throughout the Rebecca readalong to be entered into the giveaway. You will receive one entry each week you join in. In your comment, share your thoughts on the current week’s section of Rebecca, share your favorite quotes, or post a link where we can find your thoughts on the current week’s section.
Next week we are reading the rest of Rebecca, and we’ll be posting our final set of discussion questions Sunday, December 2. We hope you’ve all enjoyed the book and/or the discussion so far.