Literature Study GuidesRebeccaChapter 23 24 Summary

Rebecca | Study Guide

Daphne du Maurier

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Rebecca | Chapter 23-24 | Summary

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Summary

Chapter 23

Frank takes the narrator back to Manderley, as Maxim has requested, and the narrator imagines the worst—that Maxim will be found guilty of murder and hanged. When Maxim finally returns home, he tells the narrator that the coroner has ruled Rebecca's death to be a suicide. He speaks to the narrator about starting over together, saying, "The past can't hurt us if we are together."

While Maxim is gone to bury Rebecca, Jack Favell arrives. He is drunk and raving, insisting on seeing Maxim and telling the narrator that he knows Rebecca did not commit suicide. Maxim arrives and tells Favell to leave, but Favell refuses, claiming that he and Rebecca were lovers and that he can prove that Rebecca did not commit suicide. He attempts to blackmail Maxim, but Maxim refuses to give Favell any money and calls Colonel Julyan, telling him to come to Manderley immediately.

When Colonel Julyan arrives, Jack Favell shows him a note from Rebecca and insists that Rebecca would not have killed herself. Laughing maniacally, he accuses Maxim of killing her.

Chapter 24

Colonel Julyan sees that Favell is drunk and does not find him convincing. Julyan asks Favell to provide evidence that he and Rebecca were lovers, and Favell calls for Ben.

When Ben arrives, he denies ever having seen Favell. Favell then asks for Mrs. Danvers, who affirms that Rebecca and Jack Favell were lovers and rejects the notion that Rebecca would have committed suicide. She gets Rebecca's date book so that Colonel Julyan can look at her appointments on the day she died. The date book shows that Rebecca had an appointment with a doctor named Baker.

Analysis

The suicide ruling surprises everyone who knew Rebecca, and yet it foreshadows the revelations in the final chapters of the novel.

Maxim's admission of guilt to the narrator, followed by his refusal to be blackmailed, suggests that he is trying to stop living a lie. This move toward integrity seems to break Rebecca's hold on Maxim, which was dependent on his maintaining the lie of their happy life together. He is able to talk about starting over with the narrator. However, the possibility that he will be prosecuted for murder still hangs over his head. In addition, Manderley's ultimate fate, still to be revealed, will ensure that the past will haunt his marriage forever.

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