Picturing Rebecca


I was planning on re-reading Daphne du Maurier's classic Gothic novel, Rebecca, this weekend, but it looks like I'll be working instead. Never mind, it's good work. But since I can't enjoy the book this weekend, I felt like indulging with it in other ways today. One of the most remarkable things about Rebecca is that it's a book about a character we never actually get to 'meet', as she's dead right from the beginning of the story. Nevertheless, Rebecca the character fascinates the reader, the narrator and all the other characters in the book, despite hovering on the margins of the text like a ghost. She is one of the most alluring non-characters to appear in print, and by the end of the book, you feel as if you both know her well and that she's a complete mystery.

Rebecca is one of those fictional beings whom I always want to 'picture': whenever I re-read the novel, I imagine her scent, her clothes, her face, her hair, her mannerisms. And yet, I care nothing about the real 'heroine' of the story: the second, unnamed Mrs de Winter who marries Rebecca's husband, Maxim. Even though the second wife is the supposedly 'good' character, while the first wife is cast as the 'villain', Rebecca remains the most vital and interesting character who captures your attention and sympathy the most. I keep thinking her real story lies buried somewhere in the novel, waiting for the reader to tease it out through the imagination. I usually try to tease it out with words, but today, I imagined Rebecca through images. If you want to know why there is so much sea and water imagery here, especially the first image, Ghostly Galleon, which perfectly summarises Rebecca for me, you'll have to read the book - I promise, it's great. I hope you like the way I 'saw' Rebecca (image sources are below each set) ...


: : Vivien Leigh : : English Channel : :


: : Screen-grab from the film Cracks : : Amelia Rope Pale Lime and Sea Salt Milk Chocolate Bar : : White azaleas : : Screen-grab from the film Atonement : : Ael Mat Eau de Toilette by Lostmarc'h : :


: : Screen-grab from the film Cracks : : 'The Sea' (1963) by L.S. Lowry : : Screen-grab from the film Angel : :


: : English Breakfast Tea : : Royal Albert Blue Polka Vintage Tea for Two Set : : Blodwen Teal Cwlwm Throw : :


: : “Bound Hand with Lover’s Eye” by Fatima Ronquillo : : Screen-grab from the film Angel : : Take me back : :

P. S. I also wrote an article on Pushkin's Eugene Onegin for the Australian Ballet, which was a lot of fun. Have a great weekend everyone!