Narrative Structure and the Narrative Manipulation in ‘Rebecca’ 12th Grade

A narrative is a spoken or written account of events and the structure is the order that the author organizes events; though these definitions may seem simple, much of the interest in a narrative can arise from the distortion or manipulation of key information. The narrative of the novel Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier is first-person, and the structure is a flashback after introducing the story in the present as if she is recalling what happened to her at Manderley. As readers, we trust that her version of the story is precisely what occurred because there is nothing that suggests otherwise. However, the narrator’s memory is subjective; for example, in her eyes, Rebecca is the villain and Maxim is the victim – even after he admitted to the murder of his former wife.

Rebecca can be characterized as bildungsroman – this means that throughout the novel, the narrator matures. At the beginning of her story she recalls what she was like when she was a companion to Mrs van Hopper, ‘I remember well that plate of ham and tongue. It was dry, unappetizing, cut in a wedge from the outside, but I had not the courage to refuse it.’ and says ‘how young and inexperienced I must have seemed’. However, by the end of the novel, she has matured and...

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