2007 Student Research Conference:
20th Annual Student Research Conference

Language & Literature

The Electra Complex in Daphne DuMaurier’s Rebecca
Delisa D. Young
Dr. Hena Ahmad, Faculty Mentor

In Daphne DuMaurier’s novel Rebecca (1938), Freud’s theory of the Electra Complex, the desire of a child to kill the mother and marry the father, plays a key role in a psychoanalytic analysis of the narrator’s emotional stability. The narrator is the unnamed new wife of Mr. Maximilian de Winter, a widower twenty years her senior, who is like a father figure to her. Mr. de Winter’s first wife Rebecca (the narrator's mother figure, because she was Mr. de Winter's first love) has tragically died a year earlier, her memory still very much alive amongst the people the narrator meets, especially the servants of Manderly estate, the de Winters' home. The new Mrs. De Winter is emotionally incapacitated by the specter of Rebecca’s memory, and feels so inferior that she desires to destroy the memory of Rebecca, despite the fact that it takes a toll on the narrator’s physical and mental well-being. In this paper, I will focus on how this desire to rid Manderly of Rebecca’s presence is driven by the Electra complex.

Keywords: Electra Complex, Freud, Rebecca, Daphne DuMaurier

Topic(s):English

Presentation Type: Oral Paper

Session: 7-1
Location: OP 2117
Time: 8:15 am

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