Rebecca: Chapter 3
“I wonder what my life would be today, if Mrs. Van Hopper had not been a snob.”
That is the opening line of Chapter 3 of Daphne Du Maurier’s Rebecca.
A lot of Rebecca is about class, about the central character’s feelings of inferiority because she is not considered of the class of her husband, Maxim, and his family and friends. There is, however, very little snobbery from the upper class she so fears. The real class snobbery comes from Mrs. Van Hopper, her employer, from the servants in the posh hotel where Mrs. Van Hopper stays while abroad and from another servant, Mrs. Danvers.
Most of the fear and insecurity about class comes from the central character herself – her projection (always negative) and internalizing of what she thinks they must think of her.
She compares herself to “a juggler’s assistant,” and describes herself as “unimportant.” She refers to her “shame” the “agonies of youth.”
In fact, it is Maxim’s respectful treatment of her (lowly as she is) that endears him to her.