Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Daphne Du Maurier's Rebecca - Best Quotes

"Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again." Thus begins a tale of romance, mystery, suspense, and horror. The author was a lesbian, yet she wrote what many consider a sweet love story between a mature man and a naive young lady (the unnamed narrator).

Given the moodiness, pessimism, and the dark ambience of Manderley, one has to agree with Rebecca’s assessment of what is happiness: “Happiness is not a possession to be prized, it is a quality of thought, a state of mind.”

Philosophers and psychologists have written volumes on ‘peak experiences,’ or ‘moments of truth,’ that tests our mettle. But I like what a novelist has to say better: "I suppose sooner or later in the life of everyone comes a moment of trial. We all of us have our particular devil who rides us and torments us, and we must give battle in the end."

Rebecca’s mind in flight—thinking in the subjunctive voice-- from the safety of the now to the dread of an uncertain future:


"I wanted to go on sitting there, not talking, not listening to the others, keeping the moment precious for all time, because we were peaceful all of us, we were content and drowsy even as the bee who droned above our heads. In a little while it would be different, there would come tomorrow, and the next day and another year. And we would be changed perhaps, never sitting quite like this again. Some of us would go away, or suffer, or die, the future stretched away in front of us, unknown, unseen, not perhaps what we wanted, not what we planned. This moment was safe though, this could not be touched. Here we sat together; Maxim and I, hand-in-hand, and the past and the future mattered not at all. This was secure, this funny little fragment of time he would never remember, never think about again…For them it was just after lunch, quarter-past-three on a haphazard afternoon, like any hour, like any day. They did not want to hold it close, imprisoned and secure, as I did. They were not afraid."

Ah, that first sweet love that we all do not wish to forget: "I am glad it cannot happen twice, the fever of first love. For it is a fever, and a burden, too, whatever the poets may say."

Here is a passage that Sigmund Freud would love: "We can never go back again, that much is certain. The past is still close to us. The things we have tried to forget and put behind us would stir again, and that sense of fear, of furtive unrest, struggling at length to blind unreasoning panic - now mercifully stilled, thank God - might in some manner unforeseen become a living companion as it had before."

What I like about this passage is that humans own the capacity to freeze time. To make time an illusion: "We know one another. This is the present. There is no past and no future. Here I am washing my hands, and the cracked mirror shows me to myself, suspended as it were, in time; this is me, this moment will not pass.”

But we can also traverse time: “And then I open the door and go to the dining-room, where he is sitting waiting for me at a table, and I think how in that moment I have aged, and passed on, how I have advanced one step towards an unknown destiny.” “We smile, we choose our lunch, we speak of this and that, but - I say to myself-I am not she who left him five minutes ago. She has stayed behind. I am another woman, older, more mature…"

And an acute observation about the bane, the vain, and the good: "...but I should say that kindliness, and sincerity, and if I may say so--modesty--are worth far more to a man, to a husband, than all the wit and beauty in the world."

Heraclitus said ‘The way up is the way down.’ Rebecca: "Sometimes it’s a sort of indulgence to think the worst of ourselves. We say, ‘Now I have reached the bottom of the pit, now I can fall no further,’ and it is almost a pleasure to wallow in the darkness. The trouble is, it’s not true. There is no end to the evil in ourselves, just as there is no end to the good. It’s a matter of choice. We struggle to climb, or we struggle to fall. The thing is to discover which way we’re going."

So long, for: "Writers should be read, but neither seen nor heard."
The writing techniques I use are explained in Mary Duffy's Toolbox for Writers e-book.

Mary Duffy's Toolbox for Writers


Augustine, City of God
Austen J, Pride and Prejudice
Austen J, "Marriage Proposals and Me"
Austen J, Emma
Borges, The Aleph
C. Bronte, Jane Eyre
Burroughs E,Tarzan
Cervantes, Don Quijote
Chaucer, Wife of Bath
Coelho P,The Alchemist
Coyle H, They Are Soldiers
Dante, New Life
Dickens C, David Copperfield
Dostoevsky, Crime&Punishment
ConanDoyle,Hound of Baskervilles
Dubner S, Superfreakonomics

DuMaurier D, Rebecca
Ellis B. E. American Psycho
Fitzgerald S, Great Gatsby
Flaubert G, Madame Bovary
Fleming I,Doctor No
Freud S, Leonardo Da Vinci
Friedan B, Feminine Mystique
GarciaMarquez, Of Love & OtherDemons
GarciaMarquez,OneHundredYrs
Guerrero M,ThePoison Pill

Grass G, The Tin Drum
Harris T, Hannibal Rising
Heidegger M,House of Being
Ishiguro K, Remains of The Day
Johnson S,Rasselas
Kafka,Metamorphosis
Kosinski J, The Painted Bird
Lee H,To Kill a Mockingbird
McBain Ed,Gutter and Grave
Murakami H,Wind-Up Bird Chronicle
Nabokov V, Lolita
Meyer, S, Twilight
Ortega,Dehumanization of Art
Poe E A, Gordon Pym
Prose F, Reading Like a Writer
Rushdie S,Midnight Children
Sabatini R, Scaramouche
Spark M, Prime of Miss Brodie

Stendhal, Red and Black
Sterne L,Tristram Shandy
Stevenson R, Dr.Jekyll & Mr.Hyde
Stoker B, Dracula
Thackeray W,History of Pendennis
Tolstoy L, Anna Karenina
Trollope A, Autobiography
Unamuno M, Tragic Sense of Life
Voltaire, Candide
Webb J, Fields of Fire
Wharton E, The House of Mirth
Woolf V, To The Lighhouse


The secrets of 'no-doze' prose:
Mary Duffy's Sentence Openers


Lindsey Vonn after winning the Downhill World ...
Image via Wikipedia
Lindsey Vonn



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