Essay on Theme of Heroes in Rebecca by Daphne DuMaurier

Essay on Theme of Heroes in Rebecca by Daphne DuMaurier

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In a world of manifest superheroes, Mrs. de Winter, in Daphne du Maurier’s novel, Rebecca, though quite an unanticipated heroine, proves to be selfless and courageous, the very definition of a hero. Her name never being mentioned, Mrs. de Winter, also the story’s narrator, stands in direct contrast to the story’s vilest character, Rebecca, and her sinister housekeeper, Mrs. Danvers. By observing the characters and setting of Rebecca, we manage to catch a glimpse of the author’s personal life and how it may have influenced the writing of her novel.

The daughter of two actors, Sir Gerald du Maurier and Muriel Beaumont, Daphne du Maurier grew up in the Menabilly mansion in Cornwall, England. Her childhood home is thought to be represented by Manderley in Kerrith, the setting in which Rebecca takes place (Dame Daphne du Maurier). Du Maurier is known to have been extremely fond of Menabilly and uses poetry in Rebecca to express Mrs. de Winter’s deep love for Manderley, which is thought to resemble du Maurier’s own feelings toward her childhood home. It is curious that both love and poetry are highlighted in this book, whose genre is “crime, gothic, mystery”, and yet du Maurier makes it blend perfectly into the plot. DuMaurier’s descriptions of Manderley are like paintings of beautiful scenery and easily make the reader feel as if they are presently gazing upon the sight itself.
“Somehow I guessed, before going to the window, that the room looked out upon the rhododendrons. Yes, there they were, blood-red and luscious, as I had seen them the evening before, great bushes of them, massed beneath the open window, encroaching onto the sweep of the drive itself. There was a little clearing too, between the bushes, like a miniature lawn...

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...leave by telling her that “Rebecca was still mistress of Manderley. Rebecca was still Mrs. de Winter” (du Maurier, 233). But Mrs. Danvers has little success, Mrs. de Winter daringly crosses Mrs. Danvers and proves to her that she has the spirit to ‘stick with it’. More so, even after Maxim reveals to her his secret, that he killed Rebecca, she continues to stand by his side and love and support him until the end.

Though not the regular feats of modern superheroes, Mrs. de Winter’s own struggles and battles won, make her a valiant, and self-sacrificing “backdoor hero”. Her willingness to stand up to characters more powerful than she, such as Rebecca and Mrs. Danvers, is exemplary. Daphne du Maurier’s Rebecca, is the perfect place for a heroine to rise from the ashes, and it all starts with a dream, “Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again…” (du Maurier, 1).

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