Rebecca’: An Unexpected Journey to Finding Self Worth’

Ilana Tipping

Finding a sense of identity and belonging in modern society is harder than ever. With the constant unrealistic expectations thrust upon virtually everyone, it’s no wonder that teens, especially, have issues finding a sense of self. Everyone wants to present themselves as a perfect person – posting pictures posed in front of a private jet, “humbly” bragging that they’ve got everything figured out, and you don’t. If there was a book that demonstrated this search for an identity in a sea full of perfection, it would be “Rebecca” by Daphne Du Maurier.


In Daphne Du Maurier’s novel, a young, naive, working class girl agrees to marry a wealthy older man named Maxim de Winter and move to his imposing estate – Manderley. The girl is haunted by the knowledge of his deceased wife, Rebecca, during her stay at Manderley, before she finds out the chilling truth about her “disappearance.” Throughout the entire book, the narrator remains nameless, only mentioned in passing through her husband’s last name. In her rapid climb from rags to riches, our heroine grows accustomed to her new life, with her new husband, in her new house, and yet, still feels like a fish out of water. 


Another aspect Du Maurier displays that ties into today’s topics, is gender roles and the performance of femininity. The narrator feels gauche as she plays the role of an upper class woman, and is filled with awe at the remnants of Rebecca, who was everything she wanted to be and more. Beautiful, charming, well respected, – the narrator’s idea of perfect. The narrator loses herself to the feeling of inadequacy thrust upon her by those around her, and ultimately, herself. The downward spiral that the narrator follows is something that many people – especially those with anxiety, depression, and other mental illnesses – are plagued by. The thoughts that you aren’t good enough. That you’ll never compare to those around you. That you’re unwanted. That you’re alone. Those intrusive thoughts often dictate and debilitate your sense of worth, and your sense of self. When you’re constantly thinking these intrusive thoughts, you tend to lose yourself in them.


As someone who has experienced these things firsthand, “Rebecca” gave me motivation towards figuring out who I am as a person. Struggling with both depression and anxiety, I often get those intrusive thoughts ingrained in my mind, however, seeing a protagonist that seemingly struggled with the same feelings of inadequacy strongly put things into perspective for me. It allowed me to accept that it was okay to not always be okay. Ultimately, I’d strongly recommend “Rebecca” to those who are interested in self acceptance, and the journey that takes you there.