What is the significance of the narrator's breaking the china cupid?

Chapter 12

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t this point in the novel, the narrator’s insecurity and fear of Mrs. Danvers have grown to the point that she is unable to function as the mistress of Manderley. She behaves as if she is a guest in Rebecca’s home, following Mrs. Danvers’ set pattern of running the house and failing to assert her authority with any of the servants. The culmination of this behavior is when the narrator accidentally breaks the china cupid in the morning room and hides the pieces rather than admit the mistake to Mrs. Danvers. When Mrs. Danvers discovers the loss of the china cupid and blames Robert, the narrator is forced to take responsibility. Her decision to hide the pieces ultimately makes her look even more foolish to Mrs. Danvers and simply perpetuates the pattern of fear and insecurity.

Ironically, the narrator only breaks the cupid after she attempts to create her own space in the morning room by putting her new art books on the desk in the morning room. On one hand, the broken piece of china seems to reinforce the idea that the narrator is unsuited to be mistress of Manderley. She lacks the necessary refinement and sophistication to preserve the delicate beauty of the estate. Yet, on the other hand, the broken piece of china is merely evidence that the narrator is unable to coexist with Rebecca at Manderley. The only way for the narrator to incorporate herself in the estate is to destroy Rebecca’s presence, a fact that foreshadows the end of the novel.