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Themes and Colors
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
LitCharts assigns a color and icon to each theme in Rebecca, which you can use to track the themes throughout the work.
Coming of Age Theme Icon

In addition to being a taut mystery, a Gothic romance, and a prototypical feminist text, Rebecca is an insightful coming-of-age story. When we first meet the narrator, she’s essentially a child: a young, innocent woman who has no idea what the future holds for her. By the end of the novel, she’s become a mature adult—as her husband, Maxim de Winter, says, she seems to have grown from a girl to a woman overnight. In a novel that’s so much about loneliness, paranoia, and uncertainty, what does it mean for a character to grow up?

To begin with, du Maurier portrays her protagonist’s initial immaturity as a kind of solipsism—an inability to understand that other people have thoughts and feelings of their own. Surrounded by obnoxious older women like Mrs. Van Hopper, her employer, the narrator struggles to assert her personality in public, and for the most part, she’s too shy to say anything. (It’s worth mentioning that Daphne du Maurier herself was notoriously shy in real life.) Frightened of speaking, the narrator is alone in her own head. By the same token, the people around her remain enigmas to her. Because she refuses to disclose any of her own personality, she’s powerless to wrap her mind around the personalities of others. Even her husband, Maxim de Winter, is impenetrable. At many points in the first half of the book, the narrator thinks that Maxim is angry, frustrated, or amused with her, only to learn much later that she was utterly wrong in her interpretation of her husband’s feelings. For du Maurier, immaturity and isolation are practically synonyms.

Consistent with her psychological insight, du Maurier portrays coming-of-age as an act of exploration. The narrator begins to grow up as she navigates her way through Manderley, and—even more importantly—begins to explore the motivations and emotions of the people around her. At first, Mrs. Danvers, the cruel, intimidating head servant at Manderley, terrifies the narrator, and makes her feel like a small child. But as the narrator begins to learn more and more about Mrs. Danvers, she’s surprised to find that Mrs. Danvers is a sad, sympathetic, and even pathetic character: though she’s an elderly woman, she’s still devoted, in an almost childish way, to her former mistress, Rebecca. After the narrator confronts Mrs. Danvers and witnesses her crying about Rebecca, the tables turn. The narrator learns an obvious yet valuable lesson—everyone has secret vulnerabilities—and when she realizes this, she begins to feel herself growing up. The most extreme example of such an insight comes when Maxim reveals to the narrator that, instead of still being in love with Rebecca, he’s actually deeply afraid of Rebecca. Maxim, who is on the surface the calmest, most mature character in the novel, turns out to be the weakest.

Some critics have also interpreted the novel from a Freudian psychoanalytic perspective, with the narrator’s discovery of the truth about Rebecca as the final stage of resolving an “Electra Complex.” The psychologist Sigmund Freud believed that most young boys are first naturally attracted to their mothers and thus want to overcome or kill their fathers—this is called an “Oedipal Complex,” based on the Greek figure of Oedipus, and its corresponding name for girls (wanting to kill their mothers and marry their fathers) is an “Electra Complex,” after the Greek figure of Electra. It’s only when these complexes can be resolved in some way that a child can mature in a healthy manner. Throughout Rebecca, Maxim is portrayed as a father figure, as well as a lover, for the narrator. Toward the end of the book, however, Maxim and the narrator work together to “destroy” Rebecca, the narrator’s rival for Maxim’s affections. In Freudian terms, this signals the narrator’s coming of age: by symbolically defeating Rebecca (the wife of the narrator’s father-figure, and thus a kind of mother-figure), the narrator becomes an adult. But even if one rejects a psychoanalytic interpretation, it’s clear that the narrator’s symbolic defeat of Rebecca signals the most important aspect of her coming of age. As the narrator spends more time with her husband, she begins to realize that Maxim and Rebecca’s carefully maintained image of respectability and sophistication is just an illusion. By embracing this truth, the narrator stops feeling intimidated, and grows up.

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Coming of Age Quotes in Rebecca

Below you will find the important quotes in Rebecca related to the theme of Coming of Age.
Chapter 2 Quotes

But I never dared ask Mrs. Danvers what she did about it. She would have looked at me in scorn, smiling that freezing, superior smile of hers, and I can imagine her saying: “There were never any complaints when Mrs. de Winter was alive.”

Mrs. Danvers. I wonder what she is doing now.

Related Characters: The narrator (speaker), Rebecca de Winter , Mrs. Danvers
Page Number: 8
Explanation and Analysis:

Here the narrator recalls her former housekeeper, Mrs. Danvers, for the first time. Right away she describes Mrs. Danvers as a severe, intimidating woman. Furthermore, Mrs. Danvers like to compare the narrator with her predecessor--Rebecca de Winter (the narrator's husband's former wife). Danver's constant, silent judgment of the narrator makes the narrator feel anxious and uncertain: everything the narrator does is being "weighed" against Rebecca's memory.

And yet the narrator doesn't seem the least bit anxious about Mrs. Danvers, in the present. On the contrary, she seems calm and collected, wondering offhandedly what ever happened to her former tormenter. The fact that Mrs. Danvers--a veritable institution at Manderley--is gone suggests that something has happened to Manderley itself. The narrator's former life as a resident of Manderley, alongside her husband, is over--but it'll take 300 pages before we understand what has happened to it.


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Chapter 5 Quotes

How many times she must have written to him thus, in how many varied moods. Little notes, scrawled on half-sheets of paper, and letters, when he was away, page after page, intimate, their news. Her voice, echoing through the house, and down the garden, careless and familiar like the writing in the book.

And I had to call him Maxim.

Related Characters: The narrator (speaker), Rebecca de Winter , Maximilian de Winter
Page Number: 44
Explanation and Analysis:

The narrator begins to enter into a strange competition with Rebecca, Maxim de Winter's dead wife. Rebecca and Maxim seem to have enjoyed a close marriage for many years--hence Rebecca's habit of calling Maxim "Max." The narrator, by contrast, has been instructed to refer to Mr. de Winter as "Maxim." As the narrator interprets things, she's more removed from Maxim's thoughts and feelings. Even after the narrator marries Maxim, she's not really close with him--she begins to sense that Maxim is still in love with Rebecca, hence the distance implied by "Maxim."

It's strange to think that the narrator is "competing" with Rebecca for Maxim's affections. Throughout the novel, though, Rebecca will exert a powerful influence over the characters, albeit from beyond the grave. Rebecca could also be considered a strong maternal presence, against whom the narrator must rebel in an Oedipal sense. (See Themes.)

Chapter 6 Quotes

“If you think I'm one of the people who try to be funny at breakfast you're wrong,” he said. “I'm invariably ill-tempered in the early morning. I repeat to you, the choice is open to you. Either you go to America with Mrs. Van Hopper or you come home to Manderley with me.”
“Do you mean you want a secretary or something?”
“No, I'm asking you to marry me, you little fool.”

Related Characters: The narrator (speaker), Maximilian de Winter (speaker), Mrs. Van Hopper
Page Number: 52
Explanation and Analysis:

In this scene, Maxim de Winter dines with the narrator in Monte Carlo. Abruptly, Maxim asks the narrator to marry him. His tone is brisk and matter-of-fact--there's no real compassion or love in his voice (he even calls the narrator a "little fool"), and both characters are clearly aware of their different roles (Maxim as the powerful male benefactor, and the narrator as the lower-class, helpless female) in the relationship.

The absence of any real passion or affection in this quotation reflects the continued distance between the narrator and Maxim, who is to become her new husband. Even after she's married and moves to Manderley, the narrator will continue to regard her husband with a combination of fear and uncertainty. And we, the readers, can't tell exactly why Maxim is asking for the narrator's hand in marriage. Perhaps he's genuinely attracted to the narrator, but perhaps he thinks of her a means to an end--a way of purging himself of any lasting feelings for Rebecca. Even by the end of the book, it'll be impossible to tell how Maxim feels after Rebecca--an ambiguity that has led some feminist critics to dub Maxim the real villain of the novel.

“Naturally one wants you to be happy, and I grant you he's a very attractive creature but—well, I'm sorry; and personally I think you are making a big mistake—one you will bitterly regret.”

Related Characters: Mrs. Van Hopper (speaker), The narrator , Maximilian de Winter
Page Number: 66
Explanation and Analysis:

In this scene, the narrator--who's just gotten engaged to Maxim--crosses paths with her rather cruel former employer, Mrs. Van Hooper, for whom she's acted as a valet and travel partner. Van Hooper, who, it's been suggested, is jealous of the narrator's friendship with Maxim, tells the narrator that she doesn't approve of the marriage.

It's strange that such a simple quote from such an unimportant character should have such major ramifications for the narrator's relationship with Maxim. For the rest of the novel, the narrator continues to remember Van Hooper's words, eventually concluding that her former employer was right all along: she was wrong to marry such a mysterious, taciturn man. The fact that the narrator would be so disturbed by the opinion of a woman she despises suggests that the narrator herself is uncertain about her marriage to Maxim: she barely knows Maxim, and so she's afraid that Maxim thinks of her as a mere "cure" for his marriage to Rebecca.

Chapter 8 Quotes

“Who is it?” I said, “who do you want?”
There was a strange buzzing at the end of the line, and then a voice came, low and rather harsh, whether that of a woman or a man I could not tell, and “Mrs. de Winter?” it said, “Mrs. de Winter?”
“I'm afraid you have made a mistake,” I said; “Mrs. de Winter has been dead for over a year.” I sat there, waiting, staring stupidly into the mouthpiece, and it was not until the name was repeated again, the voice incredulous, slightly raised, that I became aware, with a rush of color to my face, that I had blundered irretrievably, and could not take back my words.
“It's Mrs. Danvers, Madam,” said the voice. “I'm speaking to you on the house telephone.”

Related Characters: The narrator (speaker), Mrs. Danvers (speaker), Rebecca de Winter
Related Symbols: Manderley
Page Number: 86
Explanation and Analysis:

In this darkly amusing scene, the narrator answers the telephone in her new home, Manderley. Unfamiliar with the voice on the other end of the line, the narrator explains that "Mrs. de Winter"--i.e., Rebecca de Winter--is dead, only to realize that Mrs. Danvers is trying to get in touch with the narrator herself.

The narrator is so uncomfortable with her new role as the mistress of Manderley that she doesn't even answer to her own title. The narrator has become Mrs. de Winter, but she continues to think of Rebecca as the true owner of this elite title. The narrator's nervousness reflects her lack of familiarity with the lifestyle of the English aristocracy. A middle-class girl, she hasn't a clue how to go about running Manderley--the contrast between Rebecca's legendary competence and the narrator's incompetence is crystal-clear, and a crucial aspect of the power dynamic between Mrs. Danvers (who also clearly thinks of Rebecca as the real Mrs. de Winter) and the narrator.

Chapter 11 Quotes

I heard myself saying boldly, brazenly, “Rebecca must have been a wonderful person.”
I could not believe that I had said the name at last. I waited, wondering what would happen. I had said the name. I had said the word Rebecca aloud. It was a tremendous relief. It was as though I had taken a purge and rid myself of an intolerable pain. Rebecca. I had said it aloud.

Related Characters: The narrator (speaker), Rebecca de Winter
Page Number: 126
Explanation and Analysis:

In this passage, the narrator takes a leap and speaks the name of Maxim de Winter's former wife, Rebecca. The narrator is in the middle of a visit to the wife of the local bishop--one of her many duties as the wife of an English aristocrat. Away from her husband--who refuses to hear the name Rebecca at any time--the narrator takes the opportunity to vent some of her pent-up frustrations, and speaks Rebecca's name in a kind of cathartic release.

The narrator has been frightened of Rebecca for a long time now, even though Rebecca has been dead for more than a year. She feels that she's an incompetent, childish young woman, whereas Rebecca must have been an impressive, beloved wife to Maxim. After repressing her guilt and fear for so long, it's enormously satisfying for the narrator to name the source of her frustrations. The quotation is important because it signals that the narrator is beginning to explore the mysteries of Manderley, starting with the mysteries' source, Rebecca herself.

“I ought to have told you all this before,” I said.
“I wish you had,” he said. “I might have spared you some worry.”
“I feel happier,” I said, “much happier. And I've got you for my friend whatever happens, haven't I, Frank?”
“Yes, indeed,” he said.
We were out of the dark.

Related Characters: The narrator (speaker), Frank Crawley
Page Number: 136
Explanation and Analysis:

Here the narrator talks with Frank Crawley, an accountant and administrator of the Manderley estate. The narrator finds that she's comfortable opening up to Frank about her frustrations with her marriage. Frank assures that narrator that Maxim has done a good thing by marrying her: the narrator is actually superior to Rebecca in every way, since she's kind, sincere, and honest. Inspired by Frank's calm manner, the narrator feels comfortable talking about her feelings, and instantly gets the consolation she'd been hoping for. In other words, the narrator learns that she's partly to blame for her own anxiety: if she'd only open up about her feelings, then she wouldn't feel so anxious.

The passage is also important in that it hints at a possible romance between Crawley and the narrator. The narrator's "comfort" around Frank seems to suggest that she feels closer to him than to her own husband--although nothing ever explicitly comes of this connection.

Chapter 13 Quotes

I dreaded his going. When I saw the car disappear round the sweep in the drive I felt exactly as though it were to be a final parting and I should never see him again. There would be an accident of course and later on in the afternoon, when I came back from my walk, I should find Frith white and frightened waiting for me with a message. The doctor would have rung up from some cottage hospital. “You must be very brave,” he would say, “I'm afraid you must be prepared for a great shock.”

Related Characters: The narrator (speaker), Maximilian de Winter , Frith
Page Number: 152
Explanation and Analysis:

Here the narrator talks about the fear she feels whenever her husband leaves Manderley to drive into London. The narrator feels a powerful fear that Maxim is going to get in a car accident and die, leaving the narrator alone at Manderley forever.

The passage is notable in that it shows the narrator's fantasy life in full-swing: the narrator seems to hallucinate a complex scenario in which a doctor tells her about Maxim's tragic death. Alone in a big house, the narrator has no way to occupy her time other than with elaborate fantasies, even if they're gruesome and depressing. The passage also suggests the narrator's total, slavish devotion to her husband. Alone in a strange, austere world, the narrator has one and only one friend--Maxim himself--meaning that, in a way, she's imprisoned in her new life at Manderley. (As some critics have pointed out, Maxim may be totally aware of the narrator's dependence on him, and using it to his advantage.)

Chapter 15 Quotes

She had relaxed against the pillows, plucking at her shawl, and her mouth began to tremble. “You talk too much, all of you. I don't understand.” Then she looked across at me, a frown on her face, and began shaking her head. “Who are you, my dear, I haven't seen you before? I don't know your face. I don't remember you at Manderley. Bee, who is this child? Why did not Maxim bring Rebecca? I'm so fond of Rebecca. Where is dear Rebecca?”

Related Characters: The narrator (speaker), Gran (speaker)
Page Number: 188
Explanation and Analysis:

In this passage, the narrator goes with Beatrice to visit Maxim's aging, senile grandmother, "Gran." To the narrator's horror, Gran doesn't realize that Rebecca has died: as far as she's concerned, the narrator is a kind of impostor, "stealing" the role of wife away from Rebecca, the rightful owner.

Gran's behavior in this scene, senile though it might be, literalizes the narrator's own feelings of insecurity at Manderley. True enough, the narrator does feel like an impostor: thanks to the severity of Mrs. Danvers, the narrator thinks of herself as an inadequate replacement for Rebecca. The narrator lacks confidence in her own abilities, to the point where she begins to hate herself simply for not being Rebecca.

Chapter 16 Quotes

He considered me a moment, his eyebrows raised, whistling softly. “Listen, my sweet. When you were a little girl, were you ever forbidden to read certain books, and did your father put those books under lock and key?”
“Yes,” I said.
“Well, then. A husband is not so very different from a father after all. There is a certain type of knowledge I prefer you not to have. It's better kept under lock and key. So that's that. And now eat up your peaches, and don't ask me any more questions, or I shall put you in the corner.”
“I wish you would not treat me as if I was six,” I said.

Related Characters: The narrator (speaker), Maximilian de Winter (speaker)
Page Number: 205
Explanation and Analysis:

The narrator has brought up the issue of Rebecca to Maxim de Winter himself. But instead of opening up about the issue to his wife, Maxim clams up, condescendingly claiming that the narrator is too young and childish to understand Maxim's feelings. As Maxim explains it, the narrator is like a young child, who needs to be kept out of a library for her own good.

As the narrator readily points out, Maxim is treating her like a tiny child. Moreover, Maxim is obtusely implying that the narrator is the problem--i.e., that she's curious about things that should be left alone--when in fact it's Maxim himself who's to blame for being too cowardly to discuss the truth with another person. The narrator has felt that she's being treated condescendingly for some time now, but it's not until this scene that she tells Maxim how she's feeling--a sure sign that the narrator is becoming stronger and more assertive.

“What the hell do you think you are doing?” he asked. His eyes blazed in anger. His face was still ashen white.
I could not move, I went on standing there, my hand on the banister.
“It's the picture,” I said, terrified at his eyes, at his voice. “It's the picture, the one in the gallery.”
There was a long silence. We went on staring at each other. Nobody moved in the hall. I swallowed, my hand moved to my throat. “What is it?” I said. “What have I done?”

Related Characters: The narrator (speaker), Maximilian de Winter (speaker)
Related Symbols: The White Dress
Page Number: 217
Explanation and Analysis:

In this uncomfortable scene, the narrator prepares to enter the Manderley summer ball, a fixture of social life in the community. With Mrs. Danvers's help, the narrator has chosen for her costume a beautiful white dress. To her horror, though, the narrator discovers--as she enters the party itself--that the dress is identical to one worn by Rebecca years before. Mrs. Danvers has tricked the narrator into humiliating herself in front of her guests and her husband.

The scene is designed to show the narrator in a state of total cluelessness: at this point, the narrator has no idea what she's done, or why her behavior has enraged Maxim. And yet we, the readers, can already guess what's going on. The narrator has dared to wear Rebecca's clothes--symbolically, she's attempted to step into Rebecca's role as wife and socialite, and she's utterly failed. In short, the passage confirms the narrator's worst fear: that she's an embarrassing, inadequate substitute for Rebecca de Winter.

Chapter 17 Quotes

I remember Robert dropping a tray of ices, and the expression of Frith's face when he saw Robert was the culprit and not one of the minions hired for the occasion. I wanted to go to Robert and stand beside him and say “I know how you feel. I understand. I've done worse than you tonight.”

Related Characters: The narrator (speaker), Frith , Robert
Related Symbols: The White Dress
Page Number: 228
Explanation and Analysis:

In the immediate aftermath of her humiliation at the party, the narrator falls into a state of trancelike calm. She's been so utterly embarrassed by Mrs. Danvers that she feels she can't sink any lower. And yet in the depths of her humiliation, the narrator seems to mature. Before the party, she was shy and mousy, avoiding conversation as much as possible; now, she's become more sympathetic and comfortable with her servants--she reaches out to Robert when he makes a mistake, offering sympathy and support.

In short, the passage shows the narrator regrouping after her embarrassment, and growing from a shy young woman into a mature adult. The passage is also important because it illuminates a crucial difference between the narrator and Rebecca. Rebecca was a glamorous socialite, but she was also cold and bullying. The narrator, by contrast, is a reluctant hostess, but she's also compassionate in a way that Rebecca could never match.

Chapter 18 Quotes

That was why I had come down last night in my blue dress and had not stayed hidden in my room. There was nothing brave or fine about it, it was a wretched tribute to convention. I had not come down for Maxim's sake, or Beatrice's, for the sake of Manderley. I had come down because I did not want the people at the ball to think I had quarreled with Maxim. I didn't want them to go home and say, “Of course you know they don't get on. I hear he's not at all happy.” I had come for my own sake, my own poor personal pride.

Related Characters: The narrator (speaker), Maximilian de Winter , Beatrice Lacy
Related Symbols: The White Dress
Page Number: 235
Explanation and Analysis:

In the aftermath of her humiliation, the narrator makes the difficult choice to continue with her party. Mrs. Danvers has embarrassed her horribly, but instead of fleeing to her room, she decides to continue on with the party, playing the part of a gracious host.

It's important to note that it's the narrator's pride, nothing else, that compels her to continue on with her hosting duties. In a slightly different sense, the narrator chooses to continue on because she doesn't want her hundreds of guests talking about her behind her back: she's concerned with her reputation in the community. Ironically, in spite of Mrs. Danvers best efforts, the narrator's humiliation at her party has caused her to become a more competent hostess and a more confident partner to Maxim de Winter--she's finally playing the part of Maxim's wife. The narrator presents this as a character flaw, but in reality it's a sign of growth--she's doing things for her own sense of dignity and self-respect, rather than just because she thinks Maxim (or Rebecca) would approve.

Chapter 19 Quotes

I was free now to be with Maxim, to touch him, and hold him, and love him. I would never be a child again.

Related Characters: The narrator (speaker), Maximilian de Winter
Page Number: 296
Explanation and Analysis:

In this chapter, the narrator has a bizarre and horrifying conflict with Mrs. Danvers, at the end of which the narrator asserts her right to live in Manderley and be married to Maxim. To her own surprise, the narrator realizes that she's cleansed herself of any feelings of fear or insecurity: where before she was afraid of Mrs. Danvers and afraid of not measuring up to Rebecca, the narrator is now calm and collected, confident that she's a better bride to Maxim than Rebecca ever was.

It's important to note that the quotation stresses that the narrator has grown up, as well as conquered her fears of Rebecca and Mrs. Danvers. In addition to being a mystery, Rebecca is also a coming-of-age story. Here, we learn how the narrator grows from a child to an adult: she gets over her feelings of insecurity and learns to be confident in herself.

Chapter 20 Quotes

“Yes,” I said, “my sweet, my love.” But I looked away from him so he should not see my face. What did it matter whether I understood him or not? My heart was light like a feather floating in the air. He had never loved Rebecca.

Related Characters: The narrator (speaker), Rebecca de Winter , Maximilian de Winter
Page Number: 278
Explanation and Analysis:

As Maxim explains to the narrator that Rebecca was a vile, hateful woman, the narrator is filled with happiness. In this quotation, we learn why: the narrator is thrilled to learn that Maxim never loved Rebecca.

It's important to notice that the narrator doesn't really understand Maxim any better than she did before: she doesn't really know anything about his personality or his character--the only thing that matters is that she, the narrator, isn't competing with Rebecca for Maxim's love. Strangely, even after the narrator learns that Rebecca wasn't the wonderful, glamorous woman she's been led to imagine, she can't help but compare herself to Rebecca: in a way, she's more interested in "beating" Rebecca than she is in understanding her own husband (or later accepting the fact that he murdered his former wife). Rebecca, it's been argued, is a Freudian mother-figure, competing with the narrator for Maxim's paternal love. The narrator's competition with Rebecca shows that she's still locked in an Electra Complex--a sure sign that she's not yet a fully mature adult.

Chapter 23 Quotes

“This business has been a shock to me, you know,” he said. “A bloody awful shock. Rebecca was my cousin. I was damn fond of her.”
“Yes,” I said. “I'm very sorry for you.”
“We were brought up together,” he went on. “Always tremendous pals. Liked the same things, the same people. Laughed at the same jokes. I suppose I was fonder of Rebecca than anyone else in the world. And she was fond of me. All this has been a bloody shock.”

Related Characters: The narrator (speaker), Jack Favell (speaker), Rebecca de Winter
Page Number: 329
Explanation and Analysis:

In this passage, the narrator talks to Jack Favell, the cousin of Rebecca. Jack, we've already noticed, is a somewhat sleazy, unpredictable character--not to be trusted in the slightest. After Rebecca's dead body is found in a washed-up boat, there's a renewed inquiry into the manner of her death. (We, and the narrator, know that it was Maxim who killed Rebeca.) The coroner concludes that Rebecca killed herself--a conclusion which satisfies many, but not Jack.

Much like Mrs. Danvers, Jack comes across as a sad, even pathetic character here. Jack continues to love a dead woman--a woman who, furthermore, probably never loved him in return. As the narrator becomes increasingly free of her obsession with Rebecca, the people around her seem to become increasingly obsessed with Rebecca--Jack is the perfect example. The passage also hints at a sexual relationship between Rebecca and Jack (a fact confirmed elsewhere), further reinforcing Rebecca's licentious, transgressive character—or else her confident, liberated personality.

Chapter 27 Quotes

I would learn more about the estate, too. I should ask Frank to explain things to me. I was sure Frank liked me. I liked him, too. I would go into things, and learn how they were managed. What they did at the farm. How the work in the grounds was planned. I might take to gardening myself, and in time have one or two things altered. That little square lawn outside the morning-room with the statue of the satyr. I did not like it. We would give the satyr away. There were heaps of things that I could do, little by little. People would come and stay and I should not mind. There would be the interest of seeing to their rooms, having flowers and books put, arranging the food. We would have children. Surely we would have children.

Related Characters: The narrator (speaker), Maximilian de Winter , Frank Crawley
Page Number: 382
Explanation and Analysis:

In this passage, the narrator and Maxim de Winter are driving back to Manderley, having resolved the mystery of Rebecca's "illness." With law enforcement satisfied that Rebecca died by suicide, Maxim is free of all suspicion--in short, he and the narrator can finally begin their life as a married couple, finally free of Rebecca's influence. In the car, the narrator plans her new life as Maxim's wife. Although she's been living at Manderley for months now, it's as if she's going there for the first time: she envisions doing all the things she should have been doing all along. The narrator has been too intimidated by Rebecca's memory to play the part of the aristocrat's wife--now, however, she's looking forward to doing so.

And yet there's a subtle hint that all is not well. The mention of Frank "liking" her suggests that the narrator is still a little dissatisfied with her marriage. (Notice that the narrator insists, "We would have children," even though the only man named in the passage is Frank, not Maxim) In short, the narrator seems be settling into her role as Maxim's wife, planning to host parties and give birth to children--as a good wife ought to, she believes--and yet there's also a suggestion that she's not entirely comfortable with such a role.