Rebecca

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Rebecca’s Boat Symbol Analysis

Rebecca’s Boat  Symbol Icon

In the second half of the book, it’s revealed that Maxim de Winter killed his first wife, Rebecca, by shooting her, then placing her body in a boat and scuttling it on the beach. It’s then darkly appropriate that the narrator is reminded of Rebecca’s boat after seeing a buoy with the message, “Je reviens,” which means “I’ll return” in French. Just as Rebecca intended all along, the boat returns to Maxim’s life with a vengeance, triggering a renewed investigation of Rebecca’s death, and casting suspicion upon Maxim and the narrator. Rebecca’s boat is a potent symbol of the power of memory and the past: Maxim tries to forget his turbulent marriage with Rebecca, but he’s unable to escape the past so easily.

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Rebecca’s Boat Symbol Timeline in Rebecca

The timeline below shows where the symbol Rebecca’s Boat appears in Rebecca. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 11
Memory Theme Icon
Feminism and Gender Roles Theme Icon
Place, Imprisonment, and the Gothic Theme Icon
Power, Control, and Information Theme Icon
...Frank how Rebecca died. He explains that she was sailing on the ocean when her boat capsized and sank—Rebecca must have drowned while trying to swim back. It took two months... (full context)
Chapter 13
Memory Theme Icon
Feminism and Gender Roles Theme Icon
Place, Imprisonment, and the Gothic Theme Icon
...come back” in French) is written on the buoy. This reminds the narrator of Rebecca’s boat—a boat which did not come back on the day she drowned. (full context)
Chapter 19
Feminism and Gender Roles Theme Icon
Coming of Age Theme Icon
Place, Imprisonment, and the Gothic Theme Icon
Power, Control, and Information Theme Icon
...that the sailors have discovered something unpleasant beneath their own ship: the hull of the boat that belonged to Rebecca. Furthermore, Searle tells her, the sailors discovered a body inside the... (full context)
Memory Theme Icon
Feminism and Gender Roles Theme Icon
Coming of Age Theme Icon
Power, Control, and Information Theme Icon
...finish—she assumes that Maxim will want to find out who the second person in Rebecca’s boat was. Maxim, his entire body shaking, tells the narrator the truth. Rebecca didn’t die in... (full context)
Chapter 20
Memory Theme Icon
Feminism and Gender Roles Theme Icon
Coming of Age Theme Icon
Power, Control, and Information Theme Icon
...listening, Maxim explains what will happen next. The police will identify Rebecca’s body in the boat—her rings, her clothes, etc. As Maxim speaks, the narrator can only think back to what... (full context)
Memory Theme Icon
Feminism and Gender Roles Theme Icon
Coming of Age Theme Icon
Place, Imprisonment, and the Gothic Theme Icon
Power, Control, and Information Theme Icon
Maxim carries Rebecca’s dead body to the sea, where he throws her in a boat and then sinks the boat. Since then, he’s always known that eventually her boat will... (full context)
Chapter 21
Place, Imprisonment, and the Gothic Theme Icon
Power, Control, and Information Theme Icon
...has asked Maxim if he has any idea whose body it could be in the boat. Maxim has answered that he has no idea whatsoever. He’s also told the Colonel that... (full context)
Memory Theme Icon
Feminism and Gender Roles Theme Icon
Coming of Age Theme Icon
Power, Control, and Information Theme Icon
...her—the narrator replies that she doesn’t know. Danvers also asks if the rumors about Rebecca’s boat are true—again, the narrator denies knowing anything. Mrs. Danvers leaves, and the narrator thinks that... (full context)
Chapter 22
Feminism and Gender Roles Theme Icon
Coming of Age Theme Icon
Power, Control, and Information Theme Icon
By evening, there are headlines in every local paper about the discovery of Rebecca’s boat. Frith asks the narrator about the inevitable inquest—he wants to know if the servants will... (full context)
Memory Theme Icon
Feminism and Gender Roles Theme Icon
Coming of Age Theme Icon
Place, Imprisonment, and the Gothic Theme Icon
Power, Control, and Information Theme Icon
After Tabb stands down, it’s time for Maxim to speak about the boat. Horridge, the coroner, asks him if he knew about the holes drilled in the boat.... (full context)
Chapter 23
Coming of Age Theme Icon
Place, Imprisonment, and the Gothic Theme Icon
Power, Control, and Information Theme Icon
...Horridge. The narrator says that she’s worried for Maxim, since it’s come out that Rebecca’s boat was deliberately scuttled (sunk). She remembers seeing Jack Favell at the inquest, but Frank explains... (full context)