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“Rebecca is a work of immense intelligence and wit, elegantly written, thematically solid, suspenseful..” -Washington Post
“Daphne du Maurier created a scale by which modern women can measure their feelings.” -Stephen King
This classic gothic novel stays in the memory of all that read it. First published in 1938, it is such a compelling read that it won the Anthony Award for Best Novel of the Century, and was taken to the big screen by the master of suspense, Alfred Hitchcock.
The main character of the story is the nameless, shy, fearful second wife of Maxim de Winter. The whole story takes place as a flashback. The memories of the family home, the magnificent Manderley, and above all of Maxim’s first wife – the beautiful, brilliant Rebecca – and her death – drowned just the year before, overshadow the young lady – a lingering evil that threatens to destroy her marriage from beyond the grave.
First listen to the opening chapter, then answer the questions. You can download the book on this page.
TRUE OR FALSE?
- The narrator returned to Manderley (the family estate) the night before the book’s opening line.
- Manderley had been abandoned for some time.
- There is a church in the grounds of the estate.
- The drive to the house was much longer than she had remembered.
- Manderley used to be a far happier, more cheerful place.
FILL IN THE GAPS. REMEMBER TO DOUBLE-CLICK ANY WORD YOU DO NOT UNDERSTAND:
“Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again. It seemed to me I stood by the iron gate leading to the drive, and for a while I could not enter, for the way was barred to me. There was a padlock and chain upon the gate. I called in my dream to the lodge-keeper, and had no answer, and (1)_________ closer through the rusted spokes of the gate I saw that the lodge was uninhabited.
No smoke came from the chimney, and the little lattice windows gaped forlorn. Then, like all dreamers, I was possessed of a sudden with supernatural powers and passed like a spirit through the barrier before me. The drive (2)_________ away in front of me, twisting and turning as it had always done, but as I advanced I was aware that a change had come upon it; it was narrow and unkempt, not the drive that we had known. At first I was puzzled and did not understand, and it was only when I bent my head to avoid the low swinging branch of a tree that I realized what had happened. Nature had come into her own again and, little by little, in her stealthy, insidious way had encroached upon the drive with long, tenacious fingers. The woods, always a (3)_________ even in the past, had triumphed in the end. They crowded, dark and uncontrolled, to the borders of the drive. The beeches with white, naked limbs leant close to one another, their branches intermingled in a strange embrace, making a vault above my head like the archway of a church. And there were other trees as well, trees that I did not recognize, squat (4)_________ and tortured elms that straggled cheek by jowl with the beeches, and had thrust themselves out of the quiet earth, along with monster shrubs and plants, none of which I remembered.
The drive was a ribbon now, a thread of its former self, with gravel surface gone, and choked with grass and moss. The trees had thrown out low branches, making an impediment to progress; the gnarled roots looked like skeleton (5)_________. Scattered here and again amongst this jungle growth I would recognize shrubs that had been landmarks in our time, things of culture and grace, hydrangeas whose blue heads had been famous. No hand had checked their progress, and they had gone native now, rearing to monster height without a (6)_________, black and ugly as the nameless parasites that grew beside them.
On and on, now east now west, wound the poor thread that once had been our drive. Sometimes I thought it lost, but it appeared again, beneath a fallen tree perhaps, or struggling on the other side of a muddied (7)_________ created by the winter rains. I had not thought the way so long. Surely the miles had multiplied, even as the trees had done, and this path led but to a labyrinth, some choked wilderness, and not to the house at all. I came upon it suddenly; the approach masked by the unnatural growth of a (8)_________ shrub that spread in all directions, and I stood, my heart thumping in my breast, the strange prick of tears behind my eyes.
There was Manderley, our Manderley, secretive and silent as it had always been, the grey stone shining in the (9)_________ of my dream, the mullioned windows reflecting the green lawns and the terrace. Time could not wreck the perfect symmetry of those walls, nor the site itself, a jewel in the (10)_________ of a hand….”