Literature Study GuidesRebeccaChapters 8 9 Summary

Rebecca | Study Guide

Daphne du Maurier

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Rebecca | Chapters 8-9 | Summary



Chapter 8

The next morning, the narrator still feels intimidated by the grand estate and by the servants. When she asks for a fire in the chilly library, Frith suggests she go to the morning room instead. When she finds the room, she is struck by both its beauty and the abundance of crimson rhododendrons inside and out. She feels that the room is infused with Rebecca's presence, recognizing Rebecca's taste in the furnishings and her handwriting on labels and letters in the writing desk. Mrs. Danvers calls on the house telephone, asking for Mrs. de Winter, and the narrator explains that Mrs. de Winter is dead, not thinking that she is in fact now Mrs. de Winter.

Chapter 9

Maxim's sister, Beatrice, and her husband, Giles, arrive at Manderley, and the narrator panics and tries to hide. However, she gets lost and ends up in the west wing of the house, where she meets Mrs. Danvers, who does not seem to approve of her presence there. Mrs. Danvers leads her back to the morning room to join Maxim, Beatrice, Giles, and the overseer of the estate, Frank Crawley.

Beatrice is a handsome, friendly, no-nonsense sort of woman, and Giles and Frank both seem kind and nonthreatening. Beatrice observes that Maxim looks much better than he did before and adds that the narrator is much younger than she expected and "just so different [from] Rebecca." They then discuss the fact that Mrs. Danvers resents the narrator's presence. "She simply adored Rebecca," explains Beatrice.


The carefully chosen décor and profusion of crimson rhododendrons in the morning room, as well as Rebecca's signature slanted handwriting, emphasize her overwhelming presence at Manderley. The narrator observes: "This was a woman's room, graceful, fragile, the room of someone who had chosen every particle of furniture with great care." The strength of Rebecca's presence overwhelms the narrator and underscores the narrator's unformed identity. This theme—the narrator's struggle to establish her own identity—is developed further when the phone rings and she fails to recognize her own name. That she should do this with the overbearing Mrs. Danvers is especially galling.

This theme is further developed in Chapter 9 when the narrator gets lost in the house and finds herself in the west wing, the wing where Rebecca's room is located. The narrator says, "I lost my way ... I was trying to find my room." Unable to recognize herself in her new role or to find her own place at Manderley, the narrator confuses her identify with Rebecca's, undermining not only her confidence but her very sense of self.

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