Rebecca Study Guide

Rebecca   by Daphne Du Maurier

Study Guide

Good looking, friendly, drives a sports car, but he’s no Maxim....


  1. What does the narrator break, and how does she cause disruption in the house?


  1. Why do the de Winters quarrel?

  2. Why does Maxim briefly leave?

  3. Who does the narrator meet on the beach?  Why is he somewhat like a prophet-figure?

  4. Who arrives in a sports car to visit Mrs. Danvers?

  5. Where have Mrs. Danvers and the visitor, somewhat secretly, been visiting?

  6. Is the narrator comfortable with the visitor?  Explain.

  7. After the visitor leaves, where does the narrator decide to go?

  8. What does the narrator find when she explores the west wing?

  9. Why does Mrs. Danvers blame herself for Rebecca’s death?

  10. What conclusions about Mrs. Danvers do you come to, after reading the west wing scene?


“Where is dear Rebecca?”........

  1. Who is Gran, and what guffaw does she make in the narrator’s presence?


  1. Explain the grandmother’s retreat into the past. 


  1. What additional facts do you now learn about Rebecca?


  1. What grand affair will soon be held at Manderley? 


  1. What does the narrator decide to wear?  How does she get the idea for the outfit?


  1. Why does the outfit cause a stir at the ball?


  1. How does Maxim react to the narrator’s outfit?  What about Maxim’s reaction leaves a lot to be desired? 


  1. Why does the narrator mutter, “I ought to have known” following her appearance in the costume?


  1. Does the narrator return to the ball?  How does she dress?


  1. When Maxim fails to turn up in their bedroom that night, what does the narrator fear?


  1. Do you think the narrator establishes herself as the new mistress of Manderley to the party-goers?  Why or why not?


Danvers is confronted, and rockets are launched......

  1. After the narrator sees Danvers watching her from a window, what does the narrator decide to do?

  2. Describe Danvers ’ reaction to the confrontation.  What does she explain?


  1. Why does Danvers lead the narrator the window?


  1. Guns boom and rockets are launched from the cove.  What is going on?


  1. What news does the harbormaster bring? 


  1. Why does Maxim say, “It’s too late, my darling.  We’ve lost our little chance of happiness” ?


  1. Maxim FINALLY describes his first marriage to the narrator.  What does he say?


True Confessions.....

  1. How does the confession change the narrator?  Does she seem younger and more innocent or older and more mature?  Explain.


  1. Explain the relationship between Rebecca and Jack Favell.


  1. Why does Maxim keep the marriage going?


  1. Where did Rebecca repeatedly take lovers?


  1. It is now revealed why Beatrice would not have visited at Manderley often when Rebecca was alive.  Explain.

  2. What does Rebecca tell Maxim that night on the boat that drives him into a rage?


  1. Why would the idea an heir upset  Maxim so?


  1. What is the real story of Rebecca’s death?


  1. Why has the boat stayed submerged so long?


  1. How does the narrator react after she hears the story?


  1. Who are Captain Searle, Colonel Julyan, and Inspector Welch?


  1. How did Maxim deal with a dead body turning up on another town’s shore months after Rebecca’s death?

The inquest cometh.....

  1. After Colonel Julyan leaves, Maxim tells the narrator something about a bullet wound on the corpse.  Explain.

  2. What does Frank Crawley caution Maxim to do at the inquest?  Why?  What does the narrator suspect about Frank?


  1. Who is Tabb, and why is his testimony important at the inquest?


  1. The coroner asks Maxim to describe his marriage to Rebecca.  Just as Max is about the answer, what conveniently happens?


  1. What verdict does the coroner eventually settle on?

Jack Favell’s side of the story....

  1. What is in the note a drunk Jack Favell carries?


  1. What does Jack demand?


  1. How does Frank respond?


  1. Why does Maxim call the magistrate?


  1. At this point, the readers often take a different perspective than is typical.  Are you rooting for or against the police at this point?


  1. What does Favell tell Colonel Julyan?


  1. Why did Maxim kill Rebecca, according to Favell?


  1. Why is Ben suddenly an important character?


  1. What  book is Danvers able to produce to help Colonel Julyan’s investigation?

A quick trip to London for the real scoop.....

  1. Who is Baker, and why is he important?


  1. Why do Maxim, Favell, the narrator, and Colonel Julyan all trek into London ?
  2. Maxim fully expects Baker to reveal what about Rebecca?


  1. How did Rebecca disguise her identity to Baker?


  1. What diagnosis was Rebecca given?


  1. Colonel Julyan seems satisfied after the visit with Baker and decides to close the case.  Why?


  1. On the way back to Manderley, Maxim phones home and receives surprising news about Danvers .  What is it?


  1. Maxim and the narrator decide to drive home (through the night) to reach Manderley as soon as possible.  Why?

Mrs. de Winter, get your science facts straight....

  1. The narrator thinks she sees the sunrise in the morning, but alas, the sun does not rise in the West.  What is the light?


  1. What has happened to Manderley?


  1. Who is to blame, do we guess, and why would this have happened?


  1. Why is the ending “just” or “unjust”? 


  1. Would Maxim and the narrator been able to ever live at Manderley with Rebecca’s “ghost”?


  1. This novel is circular in structure.  That means, it begins and ends at the same place and time.  Explain how Rebecca is circular.


  1. Look over the notes on the “gothic tradition” at the beginning of this study guide. How does this du Maurier novel fit the genre?



Questions for Rebecca Study Guide

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What were the terms of the bargain Rebecca made with MAxim after they were married, and why did he agree?

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