“If only there could be an invention that bottled up a memory, like scent. And it never faded, and it never got stale. And then, when one wanted it, the bottle could be uncorked, and it would be like living the moment all over again.”
The only name our narrator gives us is Mrs. de Winter, a name she receives after marrying the wealthy Maxim de Winter. Told in first person, she is remembering her story, an unspecified number of years later.
She can be seen as unreliable, through no fault of her own really, as she misunderstands everything about the eerie situation around her. The reader is misled only with her. Although her memory is never flawless, we can trust that we are getting the version of the events exactly as she remembers them, as she doesn’t seem to have a motive to withhold from us.
The frankness of Mrs. de Winter's narrative allows us to see her biases. She is never looking at either Maxim or Rebecca through objective eyes, nor does she pretend to be. In her mind, Rebecca is always a villain, and Maxim is always the victim. Maxim, Frank, Mrs. Danvers, Jack Favell – all these characters are seen through the filter of her eyes and her imagination.
Do you think our narrator is unreliable? What are your thoughts on Rebecca?
Implementing What We Have Learned: Writing Prompt
Write a scene from your life using only your memory. No fact checking, or overthinking. Just free write. If there is anyone else in the scene with you (that you are close to) see if your account matches up with theirs after getting it all out on the page.