Write a guided literary analysis/commentary on the opening of “Rebecca”
This whimsical extract is taken from the novel “Rebecca” by Daphne du Maurier written in the mid 1930’s. An unknown narrator opens the story, which is continually written in the 1st person narrative voice. The narrator takes us on a journey as she explores in ghostlike form though the grounds of Manderley where we discover the intentions behind her visit. Imagery and the continued use of certain themes help to establish significant questions about the plot of the novel such as “What is the nature of this mysterious Manderley?”, and more, importantly, “what happened to it that makes the narrator dream about it repeatedly?” The opening line of the extract automatically creates an intriguing tone through the use of the adverb “again” and the fact that this line is written in iambic hexamator enforces the idea of the setting being mystically alive. The starkness of the sentence “Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again.” suggests the certain theme of nostalgia, almost as if the narrator would return to Manderley if she could but is prevented by some larger force. The use of supernatural ideas is something that Du Maurier uses readily throughout the extract, such as the line “like all dreamers, I was possessed of a sudden with supernatural powers and passed like a spirit through the barrier before me” portraying a ghostly atmosphere as she is previously “barred” from entering, but in her dreamy state she has no obstacles. The narrator’s pensive state is interpreted through the choice of sentence structure, where long and complex sentences create the desired mood and slow the rhythm of the chapter down. As the narrator proceeds further in to the grounds of Manderley we learn the extent of her memories, “As I advanced I was aware that a change had come upon it; it was narrow and un kept, not the drive that we had known” the first person, plural pronoun “we” demonstrates that she was not...
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