We are halfway through Daphne du Maurier’s classic novel Rebecca! If you are just joining us, be sure to check out last week’s discussion of the first 8 chapters as well as the full readalong schedule.
This week we read chapters 9-15. Please be aware this post contains spoilers for the first 15 chapters of Rebecca.
The LOHF team has posted and answered some discussion questions below. We’d love to hear your thoughts as well!
1. This was a very entertaining week for the LOHF team as we read and discussed Rebecca. There may have allegedly been bets placed on what really happened to Rebecca (if she is in fact deceased). Without spoiling anything (don’t answer if you already know!), what do you think happened to Rebecca?
Emily: think that Maxim murdered Rebecca in the cottage. I’m not sure what would have led to it (most likely an affair), but something shady went down in that cottage.
Toni: She ran off with some dude she was having an affair with.
Cat: I speculated that she took her own life – jumped off the boat and into the sea. I do believe there’s much more to Rebecca than the perfect housewife. Her own private cottage could tell us she wasn’t entirely happy with her marriage and sought some sort of freedom. Now that I think about it, maybe she’s not even dead at all, but faked it to escape her misery.
Jen: I’m not trusting creepy Mrs. Danvers. I’m betting she was involved in Rebecca’s demise.
2. Do you think Danvers is actually spying on the narrator?
Lilyn: Yes, of course. She’s an obsessed old biddy and this new lady is in the REAL mistress’s house.
Emily: Yes, I do think she’s spying on the narrator. I’m not sure if it’s for herself, or for someone else, but she seems to be watching the narrator.
Laurie: Danvers is definitely a creepy obsessive type of personality. I would put nothing past her.
Toni: She is totally spying on the narrator. But the question is for who.
Cat: I think she’s certainly keeping an eye on her. The narrator is an unknown entity, and perhaps Danvers believes her trespassing on Rebecca’s territory. After all, she displays obsessive behaviour when it comes to the former Mrs de Winter.
3. How do you feel about the narrator comparing herself to Jasper? Getting small tokens of affection from Maxim when he remembers she’s in the room.
Emily: It’s sad but fitting that the narrator compares herself to Jasper. I adore dogs, but I would not want to be in a place where I’m comparing my relationship with my partner to my relationship with my dog. She deserves better, and it’s annoying that she can’t recognize that. Clearly she’s okay with being kept as a pet, at least for now.
Lilyn: I think the narrator is a mostly pathetic non-entity that would have been more interesting by far AS a dog.
Laurie: I think it’s painful to read those thoughts and wish she would speak up for herself.
Toni: I think it is pretty sad. But she has resigned herself to this life that she married into.
Cat: Comparing herself to the dog says a lot about her self-worth, and her marriage. It puts emphasis on the lack of equality between them. Does Maxim even see her as a woman? It strikes me that she’s merely a replacement – a young and impressionable girl expected to fill a role. Somewhere inside herself she probably even knows that.
4. When this book was written Danvers State Hospital was still a functioning asylum. Do you think Du Maurier chose the name with that in mind at all?
Emily: I had not heard the info about the asylum, but that’s interesting. It’s possible.
Lilyn: Possibly. Most of this was written while she was in Egypt so, I doubt it…but maybe.
Laurie: It’s too much of a coincidence for her not to have connected the two, I think.
Toni: Danvers is in the US and Daphne was writing in the UK so I am not sure if there was any cross over there.
5. With the introduction of several new characters – Beatrice, Frank, Ben, Jack – is there anyone in particular that you think will have relevance, or even play a larger role, in the overall conclusion?
Emily: I think that Ben and Jack will both have some sort of larger role later on. They both seem to have information that could affect the narrator’s life.
Lilyn: Ben definitely knows something / saw something he shouldn’t have. He said as much.
Toni: I think that Beatrice is going to play a larger role. I am not sure how but I think that she is going to be a key to the whole thing.
Cat: I think they all will have some level of relevance. Beatrice might continue to be a friend to the protagonist, Frank as well, whilst Ben and Jack are the mysterious figures right now. Ben in particular has said some peculiar things, I’m positive whatever interactions he previously had with Rebecca will come to the forefront.
Here are some of our favorite quotes from chapters 9-15 of Rebecca:
I wondered why it was that places are so much lovelier when one is alone.
They only came to call at Manderley because they were curious and prying.
Dear God, I did not want to think about Rebecca.
Why must I be the one to supply the interest, and have all the criticism?
I was like a guest, biding my time, waiting for the return of the hostess.
Because life at Manderley is the only thing that ever interests anybody down here.
We are happy, aren’t we? Terribly happy?
I feel her everywhere. You do too, don’t you?
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 chapters 16-21, and we’ll be posting more discussion questions Sunday, November 25.