Rebecca is a bittersweet novel. Some aspects of the story are exceptional and well written, while others are not. It contains powerful characterization and strong foreshadowing but too much imagery. First, Rebecca contains awesome characterization. At the beginning of the story, the reader may be lost and become bored with the plot, because little is known about the characters until much later in the story.
Once the author, Daphne du Maurier, unfolds the characters secrets and lives, however, the story is compelling and thought-provoking. At some points, especially towards the end of the story, it seems as though the reader personally knows the characters and can relate with exactly what they are thinking and feeling. The reader can understand the narrator's pain concerning Maxim and Rebecca, and how she feels that she is always being compared to Rebecca and will never be good enough for Maxim. One can also comprehend Maxim's actions and ways after he explains his past life with Rebecca, which helps to make the plot more engaging and draws the reader into the world of Manderley.
All the characters are continuously developed through-out the novel and their pasts are learned, except for the narrator, who's past is never learned; probably because Ms. du Maurier thought it was irrelevant to the plot and did not want to develop the narrator's past excessively. Secondly, Rebecca has strong foreshadowing. On page four, Ms. du Maurier writes, "For Manderley was ours no longer. Manderley was no more." This is the strongest and most obvious foreshadowing in the story.
The reader automatically knows that something tragic happens to Manderley and it's inhabitants. In the rest of the story, however, she uses many almost unnoticeable accounts of foreshadowing, which hint to the reader that something is going to happen. She hints to Rebecca's dress at the fancy dress ball, when Mrs. de Winter is with th bishop's wife and she comments on how beautiful Rebecca was in her lovely white dress.
When the narrator and Maxim are walking and Jasper goes off towards the cove, Maxim becomes upset and Mrs. De Winter wonders why. Later in the story the reason for Maxim's dislike is revealed. Another example is before the fancy dress ball. The narrator tells Frank and Maxim that when they see her in her costume they "will both get the shock of (their) lives." When they see her in her costume, it completely shocks them. This foreshadowing is subtle and flows natural throughout the story.
On the other hand, Ms. du Maurier uses countless examples of imagery in Rebecca. The imagery is practically endless. The reader can completely visualize the scenery, down to the leaves on the trees, but it is meaningless.
In the first chapter, she uses three pages to describe the outside of Manderley and the driveway that leads to it. Ms. du Maurier completely describes Rebecca's bedroom, yet the reader may still have a difficult time visualizing the room because there are too many details and it leaves nothing up to the reader's imagination. Only some of this information is important to the story line; the rest is merely nonsense and leaves the reader confused and bored.
The reader truly does not need to know exactly how the rooms inside Manderley look, or how the road and the scenery looked to the narrator when she and Maxim were driving in Monte Carlo, or exactly how the gardens look at Manderley. These details are completely irrelevant to the story line and they just cause the reader to become distracted from the plot. This can also cause the reader to lose interest in completing the novel, which is something Ms. du Maurier did not want to happen. In conclusion, Rebecca is a typical, romantic suspense novel.
It contains strengths and weaknesses. Some of these include wonderful characterization and excellent foreshadowing but an excessive amount of imagery.