midterm - Kroymann 1 Ethan Kroymann Professor Babine...

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Kroymann 1 Ethan Kroymann Professor Babine English 180 October 5, 2012 Class’s Influence on Motive After reading and analyzing Daphne du Maurier’s Rebecca , one can understand how she uses basic literary concepts to construct a story that contains many crime literature elements. Throughout the novel, du Maurier utilizes gendering, environmental, and gothic elements to produce a literary work that builds on previous pieces of crime literature. Most importantly, Daphne du Maurier focuses specifically on the social class of prominent characters in order to show motive for criminal activity. The first prominent character, Mrs. Danvers, allows her social class to motivate her to commit a crime. Mrs. Danvers, the main maid of Manderley, ensures that everything runs smoothly while she takes care of the mansion. Because she is a servant, Mrs. Danvers is of a lower class than the narrator, Maxim, and Rebecca. Daphne du Maurier writes that Mrs. Danvers did “everything” at Manderley in order to make a living (64). Being the hard working lady that she was, Mrs. Danvers went above and beyond her duties while Rebecca was living to ensure that she had a source of income to support herself. In her article, Nicky Hallett theorizes that his desire to make more money and to move up in social class led the maid to develop a special relationship with Rebecca, one that allowed her to replace Maxim in the bedroom (45). Unlike most maids, Mrs. Danvers strived to fulfill Rebecca’s every desire and would often brush her hair for her (Hallett 44). After Rebecca died, Mrs. Danvers still passionately cared for all of her belongings and made sure to keep her now vacant room tidy. As soon as the new Mrs. de Winter
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Kroymann 2 moves in, Mrs. Danvers immediately fills with hate and only “bade [the narrator] welcome to Manderley” to please the rest of the staff and Maxim (du Maurier 68). This demonstration of hate foreshadows the similar events that would come later. Once she cannot handle the narrator anymore, Mrs. Danvers lets her love for Rebecca triumph as she urges the narrator to commit suicide. Standing in Rebecca’s room, Mrs. Danvers calmly asks “Why don’t you jump?” (du Maurier 250). At this point, Mrs. Danvers becomes a criminal.
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