Maxim de winter is the owner of Manderley, a lover country house by the sea. He is a representative noble man. It’s said that his first beautiful wife, Rebecca, has sailing her own boat at night and drowned. After that, Maxim goes to Monte Carlo because he needs to get away. In Monte Carlo, he meets an unspoilt young woman, with her stuffy employer, Mrs Van Hopper. He spent several weeks in Monte Carlo with her and they all feel happy. Gradually they fell in love. After seven weeks, they returned to Manderley.
For some reasons, Mrs Danvers, Rebecca’s best friend, also, the housekeeper, dislike the young wife immediately she saw her. She often takes cold and lifeless voice to speak to the young wife. In Manderley, the young woman meets Max’s sister, Beatrice. She is very honest and sincere. She also gets along well with Frank Crawley, Who manages Mr de Winter’s affairs. He is also Max’s best friend. All the people in Manderley show respect for Rebecca and like her very much. Frank Crawley even describes Rebecca as having been ‘the most beautiful creature I even saw in my life.’ She often compares herself with Rebecca. Rebecca is so beautiful and well-educated. She feels plain and dull. The dead wife seems to be always there in the background and to throw a dark shadow over her relationship with her new husband.
Rebecca, though never seen, is clearly the central character. But we learn about her all through indirection in the dialogue of the other characters. One Sunday, Maxim de Winter decided to host a fancy-dress dance. The young woman had no idea about what on earth should she wear. Then Mrs danvers proposed a suggestion that she could copy the clothes from one of the pictures in the hall. The young lady followed Mrs Danvers’ advice and wore a simple white dress with a hat in order to surprise Max and Mr Crawley. But to her disappoint, nobody moved and they all stared at her, speechless. The truth is that the dress was what Rebecca did at the last fancy-dress dance at Manderley. It made Max very angry. Mrs Danvers played a trick on her. From this we know that the housekeeper show deep respect for Rebecca even she had died. This also made the young woman discover that Maxim still love Rebecca.
As the central character, Rebecca in fact was an evil and selfish woman. She played a role of Maxim’s wife, and also fell in love with her cousin Jack Fevall. Their marriage was unhappy. And Maxim de Winter hated Rebecca so much that he shooted her in the cottage in the bay.
From the book, I know that the snobbery and hypocrisy of upper English society. The World Books Press 2006.8