“In what ways does Rebecca demonstrate and subvert the conventions of the romantic genre?”
In Rebecca du Maurier appears to conform to the conventions of the romantic genre however, du Maurier has also subverted the genre of romance through her representation of the relationship between the narrator and Maxim and the structure of the novel. She has also incorporated of elements of the gothic genre and the psychological thriller.
On the surface Rebecca appears to demonstrate the conventions of the romantic genre. The storyline includes a heroine, who is thinks herself to be very plain “with straight, bobbed hair and youthful, unpowdered face, dressed in an ill-fitting coat and skirt…”, as well as a hero, who the heroine believes is “arresting, sensitive and medieval in some strange inexplicable way” as well as dark and mysterious. One convention of the romantic genre used in Rebecca is the exotic location at which they meet, Monte Carlo, and where Maxim asks her to “come home to Manderly” with him. Like in many other romance novels there is someone who tries to break up the ‘happy couple’ as well as the ‘other woman’ however in Rebecca these are two different people. Mrs Van Hopper thinks the narrator is “making a big mistake” by marrying Maxim but does not try and stop the wedding as she thinks it will not work out anyway. In a very romantic genre-like style Maxim ‘saves’ the narrator from Mrs Van Hopper. The narrator doesn’t listen to what Mrs Van Hopper says because she has found a “new confidence” and starts to fantasize about herself and Maxim “planning the future”, sitting “together in the dining room” and being able to “talk … about being happy”. Another convention of the romance genre is the ‘other woman’ who in Rebecca is the late Mrs de Winter. The narrator believes that Rebecca represents the love of Maxim’s life. When she finds the note that Rebecca had written in a book for Maxim, she decides to burn it and when she does, the narrator feels...
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