Rebecca Short Essay - Answer Key

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1. What is the purpose of the opening chapter of Rebecca?

This dream sequence sets a mysterious and menacing tone. The opening passage is full of images of tangled plant growth and grotesque vegetation, as a lilac "mated with a copper beech." These symbolize the confusion of mind suffered by the young Mrs. de Winter as well as the deceptions that will be revealed as the novel unfolds. It is an effective beginning, though the dream opening is something of a cliche.

2. What is the overall tone of the opening chapter?

The long description of the protagonist's dream, that makes up the opening chapter of Rebecca, contains images of sadness and nostalgia. The impression is of sadness, regret and abandonment. This is created by the images such as those of the locked gate, the gaping windows, the smokeless chimney and the jungle-like plant growth that has overrun everything.

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