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Philosophy and Literature (2000) - Rebecca's Deceivers




Rebecca does have some points in common with that tale: a young girl, cast adrift in life, of at best modest background and stuck in a demeaning job, meets and marries a rich Englishman who is lord of a castle; there is a wicked stepmother (Mrs. Van Hopper) and a wicked stepsister (Mrs. Danvers); there is a costume ball with an unhappy denouement; there is even a sort of glass slipper, though it is a broken cupid and leads away from not towards marriage- but no pumpkin coach, no good fairy godmother; and Rebecca has ghostly and murderous elements that are not part of the Cinderella story. [...] if dreams reveal a wish, and the prologue is nostalgic, why is it Fontaine would wish to relive what was a virtual nightmare of humiliation, deceit, and despair, followed by an inquest into whether her husband murdered his first wife, an ugly business fraught with publicity and blackmail, during which she must watch her husband commit perjury and herself become his co-conspirator?