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Rebecca: Chapters 5-6

We are doing our Novel/Movie series online.  The current series "Hitchcock: Before and After Hollywood" will cover "The 39 Steps" "Rebecca" "Dial M for Murder" and "Sabatoge."

This is a sumary of chapters 5-6 of the novel, Rebecca:

•        Maxim explains that “all memories are bitter, and I prefer to ignore them.  Something happened a year ago that altered my whole life, and I want to forget every phase of my existence up to that time….I must begin living all over again.”  “You have blotted out the past for me.”
•        Mrs. Van Hopper gives flesh to the “phantom” the narrator has been pursuing in her mind.  Rebeca was, she says, “very lovely.  Exquisitely turned out, and brilliant in every way.”  Then, she pushes the knife in: “I believe he adored her.” 
•        Rebecca, even in  her handwriting, is everything the narrator is not: ““That bold, slanting hand, stabbing the white paper, the symbol of herself, so certain, so assured.”
Chapter 6
·      The narrator, unlike Maxim, is keen to stop time, to make her memories of the drive to Manderley last.  She feels the time slipping away from her, aware of the fact that they can never stop the fleeting time.  “We can never be quite the same again.”
·      She wishes to be older, more mature, not so young and foolish.
·      Then, she receives a proposal, not a proposal where “men knelt to women,”  not in “moonlight,” but over breakfast, and Maxim proposes in an extremely unromantic way:  “I’m asking you to marry me, you little fool.”  But, propose he does and she starts dreaming of being “mistress of Manderley.”
·      But, before the proposal breakfast is over Maxim points out that the tangerine is sour.  Then, the narrator notices the same thing: the tangerine is sour and she hadn’t even noticed, much like the marriage may turn out to be.
·      And, Maxim had not said anything about being in love.
·      The narrator starts to wonder if the proposal to Rebecca had been romantic, not over breakfast, but she tries to control her jealousy.  ““Put it away”  “Get thee behind me, Satan.”
·      Maxim has given her a book of poems and inside she finds a dedication from Rebecca.  She notes: “How alive was her writing though, how full of force.”  She cuts the page out of the book, tears it up and puts it in the trash.  Then, she goes back and sets fire to the fragments.
·      But, the past will not disappear.  When Mrs, Van Hopper finds out about the engagement, she tries her best to wound the narrator.  “I simply can’t see you doing it,” she says.  “…you are making a big mistake – one you will bitterly regret.”  “…you know why he is marrying you, don’t you?....He just can’t go on living there alone.

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