Rebecca Chapters 3-5

What does the narrator say about memories? How does Maxim feel about memories?

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The opening line of the novel, “Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again,” immediately frames the work with a sense of loss and mystery. The narrator only gives vague details, mentioning a beautiful house in ruins and the fact that she and her unnamed male companion can never return to it. The context of memories is largely connected with escaping the past. One of the main conflicts of Rebecca revolves around Maxim and the narrator’s efforts to escape the past. From his first entrance in the novel, Maxim is tormented by the memory of his marriage to Rebecca and his eventual murder of her. Even though the narrator never knew Rebecca, she is equally haunted by her presence at Manderley through her physical representative, Mrs. Danvers. The characters are only able to move forward with their marriage after each one has come to terms with the past in their individual ways. For the narrator, Maxim must reveal that he never loved Rebecca in order for her to assume her position as mistress of Manderley. Maxim, on the other hand, must own up to the consequences of his actions and stop running from the memory of what he has done. In the end, Maxim and the narrator triumph over the memory of Rebecca but only after Manderley, with all of its memories of her, is destroyed.