蝴蝶梦1
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蝴蝶梦》文中悬念手法赏析(1)

[Abstract] Suspense is an important element of writing. Its special feature, as the English dramatist, William Archill said, “to predict a very attractive state of affairs without telling it out.” On suspense’s forming, the English critic, David Lodge has incisive recapitulation,” To set forth a question and postpone the answer.” To be exactly, that is, to stress a main, unusual situation. And there is enough time and space left for readers to imagine.

Daphne du Maurier brings skill of suspense into full play in her most famous novel Rebecca .In it; she sets forth a series of suspense, including both full-text suspense and partial suspense. Moreover, smaller suspense have mutual relations in or among each level. This kind of arrangement not only because the motive force which helps the plots develop but also draw readers to read and guess what is in the next step.

This article expounds the special skill using a series of suspense in Rebecca and its artistic effects. And then,the novel’s design..

[Key Words] Rebecca; suspense; Manderley; implications.

【摘 要】 悬念是一种独特的文学结构形式, 其重要特征, 用英国戏剧理论家威廉·阿契尔的话说, 就是“预示出一种十分吸引人的事态, 却不把它预叙出来.”对于悬念的形成, 英国当代小说批评家戴维·洛奇曾作过精辟的概括, 即“提出问题,延缓提供答案”.具体而言, 就是突出不同寻常的情境并延缓批露底细, 使其呈明显的悬而未决的状态.

达夫妮·杜穆里埃在《蝴蝶梦》(原名《吕蓓卡》) 中充分发挥悬念这一独特的文学结构形式的优势, 设置了一系列悬念, 这些悬念不仅成为推动故事情节发展的内在动力, 而且极大地刺激读者的阅读兴趣, 给读者带来了独特的审美感觉. 本文从结构上探讨作品别具匠心的悬念艺术, 以助于更好的欣赏作品中的悬念。此外,从创作手法的角度剖析了文中一系列悬念手法产生的非同一般的艺术效果,指出这种手法在全文篇章结构中的重要作用。

【关键词】《吕蓓卡》; 悬念;曼陀丽;暗示

1. Introduction

The English female writer, Daphne du Marrie had been a member of the Royal Society of Literature. She had written 17 novels and tried more than 20 kinds of styles in literatures writing, Daphne lived in Cornwall, a country on the Atlantic coast, North England, for a long time. Most of her works set background in the local conditions and customs. As a result, “Cornwall Novel” is given as a name for her works. Being deeply influenced by Gothic Novel, which is famous for its mystery, curiousness and terror, Daphne wrote her works with plots full of twists and turning.

Any one who has read Rebecca, the most famous novel written by Daphne, will never f

orget those dismal and constrained scenes and horrible imaginations. However, the specific feature of this novel is its using lots of suspense carried through the whole story. This has made its plots intricate but well-knit and soul stirring.

Add to this, Alfred Hitchcock filmed Rebecca in 20th century, considered as one of the well-known suspense films.

Suspense is an important skill of writing. It is also an singular design of literature writing. Its special feature, as the English dramatist, William Archill said,“ „to predict a very attractive state of affairs without telling it out.” [6] Usually, it sets forth a question and postpones the answer. To be more exactly, that is, to stress a main, unusual situation. And there is enough time and space left. The reason of causing the situation doesn’t appear at once.

In this novel, Rebecca, there are 3 levels of suspense.

In the opening sentences of the book, Manderley is noticed. The lines of describing the heroine’s dream are full of misgivings and mystic.

“As I stood there, hushed and still, I could swear that the house was not an empty shell but lived and breathed as it had lived before.”[4](P7)

“A cloud, hitherto unseen, came upon the moon, and hovered an instant like a dark hand before a face.”[4](P7)

“The house was a sepulcher, our fear and suffering lay buried in the ruins. There would be no resurrection. When I thought of Manderley in my waking hours. I would not be bitter.”[4](P7)

Then “I” come to the reality from dream. “I” am thinking about Manderley and all happened in it that cannot hurt. These words have put forward the first suspense, that is, what a story happened in such a ruined, barren garden? Who is “I”? It catches readers’ eyes at once. Therefore, they are hastened to go further into the story, into the story about my life experience in Manderley.

2.The first level of suspense: Rebecca is a good wife with brains, beauty, and breeding?!

2.1Phoney

This is the main suspense, which goes through the whole story. In the story, the heroine and readers are mentioned time to time that Rebecca is a good wife who is beloved by Maxim.

“Mrs. Van Hopper said’, He looks ill, doesn’t he? They say he can’t get over hi s wife’s death„”[4](P15)

“„The Manderley parties were famous when she was alive, „”[2](P64)

“The bishop’s wife said,‘„(Rebecca)she was a very lovely creature, so full of life. ’

‘She was certainly very gifted. I can see her now, standing at the foot of the sta

irs on the night of the ball, shaking hands with every-body, that cloud of dark hair against the very white skin, and her costume suited her too, Yes, she was very beautiful.” [4](P131)

And in Mrs. Danvers eyes, Maxim could not live without Rebecca. After her death, he can’t go to sleep; he moves away from the bedroom and travels out for a long time in order to get over it.

Even for Maxim’s grandmother, Rebecca has made a great fuss of her. The old lady has never forgotten her and asks for Rebecca all the time.

All these seems that Rebecca is a kind, generous, elegant woman, a perfect wife. People around the town know her well and all praise her even when she is dead. Rebecca has a gift of smartness; she masters her power, finances and resources to run Manderley into the most famous show place in all the country. “ She is damnably clever. No one would guess meeting her that she was not the kindest; most generous, most generous, most gifted person in the world. She knew exactly what to say to different people, how to match her mood to theirs. Had she met you, she would have walked off into the garden with you, arm in arm, calling to Jasper, chatting about flowers, music, painting, whatever she knew to be your particular hobby. And you would have been taken in, like the rest. You would have sat at her feet and worshipped her.”

[4](P283-P284) This is Maxim’s description of his wife, Rebecca.

2.2Truth

And Rebecca does succeed, or we would rather say, Daphne does succeed. Daphne used people’s actions and words to set up suspense .In fact, Rebecca is just completely opposed the impression being felt. Things are that Rebecca is a debauchee. “She was vicious, damnable, rotten through and through.”[4](P283) She knows Maxim’s disadvantage and has made good use of it. She knows that Maxim will never stand in a divorce court and give her away, have fingers pointing at, mug flung„

Rebecca would curse people, using every filthy word in her particular vocabulary. Rebecca does what she likes, she lives, as she likes. She sticks a big brute of horse, slashing at him, drawing blood, and digging the spurs into the horse. She sits on the hills above Monte Carlo, laughing, and tear flowers into fragments. She is like the devil. She seduces all kinds of man, even his husband’s brother in-law. Even when she has got a cancer, she inveigles her husband into a murderer!

2.3Hints

Though we haven’t known the truth till Chapter21, the writer has set hints. When we finish reading we will become aware of it and look back the whole story.

2.3.1Maxim’s attitude

Yes, firstly, we find that Maxim doesn’t welcome topics either about Manderley or his dead wife when he first appears in Monte Carlo. When Mrs. Van Hopper praises Manderley as a fairyland, “„(Maxim) he went on smoking his cigarette, and I noticed faint as gossamer, the line between his brows. [4](P19) ‘His silence now was painf

ul. His own words must have jolted a memory for his face clouded again and he frowned very slightly.” [4](P20) All this indicates that he has something unhappy happened in his home, Manderley, there must be some bitter memory.

On his wife, Rebecca, Maxim says as below: “All memories are bitter, and I prefer to ignore them. Something happened a year ago that altered my whole life, and I want to forget every phase in my existence up that time. Those days are finished. They are blotted out. I must begin living all over again.”[4](P43)

“ I was there some years ago, with my wife. You asked me if it was still the same, if it had changed at all. It was just the same, but I was thankful to realize oddly impersonal. There was no question of the other time. She and I had left no record.” [4](P43)

Such sentences show Maxim’s unhappy life with his first wife—Rebecca.

2.3.2 Others’ odd manner

Secondly, Frank’s odd manner when “I” talk about Rebecca; and Beatrice’s rather different negative attitude. The silence is a silence born of shame and embarrassment. Frank says, “„We none of us want to bring back the past. Maxim least of all. And it’s up to you, you know, to lead us away from it. Not to take us back again.”

[4](P141)

Readers may a little hesitate when they came to this. Why does Frank say so? Well, isn’t the past good enough for them? After all, their hostess is almost perfect. Therefore, the curiosity drives us go on reading. There seems a mist. We have an egger to look through it to the core. That is what suspense skill used perfectly by Daphne. She gives us a dream, and all of us get drown in it. The great writer handles our inquisitiveness skillfully.

2.3.3 Rebecca’s handwriting

Rebecca’s handwriting has given us a lot of implications. It gives us an inkling that what a person Rebecca is. She is strong, proud, independent, debauched, like a demon.

“‘Maxim from Rebecca 17may,’ written in a curious slanting hand. A little blob of ink marred the white page opposite, as though the writer, in impatience, had shaken her pen to make the ink flow freely. And then as it bubbled through the nib, it came a little thick, so that the name Rebecca stood out black and strong, the tall and sloping R dwarfing the other letters.”[4](P37)

“They slept in peace, the grass blew over their graves. How alive was her writing though, how full of force. Those curious, sloping letters. The blob of ink.”[4](P6

2.)

2.3.4The unusual rhododendron

The rhododendron, which Daphne describes in this novel, is not just a kind of flower. In some sense, it is the character of Rebecca, bloody, cruel. It has created an atmosphere of constrained and terror that shades Maxim’s second marriage.

“The nameless shrubs had disappeared, and neither side of us was a wall of color, blood-red, reaching far above our heads. We were amongst the rhododendrons. There was something bewildering, even shocking, about the suddenness of their discovery. The words had not prepared me for them. They startled me with their crimson faces, massed one upon the other in incredible profusion, showing no leaf, no turning, nothing but the slaughterhouse red, luscious and fantastic, unlike any rhododendron plant I had seen before. [4](P70)

Rebecca considers rhododendron as her favor. Bloody-red flowers are like something flowing in Rebecca’s bone. She is dying for wiping out something, especially man. She wants to conquer everything. It seems that she gets a lot of pleasure from dallying with all kinds of man; no matter he is in the upper class or a gardener! She tries all her best to satisfy her lust for sexual. But she laughs at everybody and fears nothing.

rhododendron was a homely, domestic thing, strictly conventional, mauve or pink in color, standing one beside the other in a neat round bed. And these were monsters, rearing to the sky massed like a battalion, too beautiful I thought, too powerful; they were not plants at all.” [4](P70)

Yes, those rhododendrons in Manderley are not plants at all, as Rebecca seems to be no human at all. Just as Maxim describes, she is not even normal. And Mrs. Danvers said, “she were born into the world to take what she could out of it. Rebecca had all the courage and spirit of a boy. She ought to have been a boy instead of a girl. She did what she liked; she lived as she liked. She had the strength of a little lion too. I remember her at sixteen getting up on one of her father’s horses, a big brute of an animal too, that the groom said it was too hot for her to ride. She stuck to him, all right. I can see her now, with her hair flying out behind her, slashing at him, drawing blood, digging the spurs into his side, and when she got off his back, he was trembling all over, full of froth and blood.” [4](P254)

This description suggests Rebecca well: wanton; cruel and sly.

2.3.5 Ben’s words

Besides, the idiot Ben’s action also shows Rebecca’s hoof. Ben has been frightened badly by Rebecca just because he sees her wanton in the cottage.

“(Ben) He held the fishing cline clutched to his heart like a treasure. ‘You (“I”) won’t put me to the asylum, will you?’ he said.

‘You are not like the other one,’ he said.

‘What do you mean? ’I said,‘what other one? ’

He shook his head. His eyes were sly again. He laid his finger against his nose. ‘T all and dark she was,’ he said, ‘she gave you the feeling of a snake. I had seen her here with my own eyes. Be night she’d come. I seen her.’ He paused, watching me intently. I didn’t say anything.’ I looked in on her once.’ He said, ‘and sh

e turn on me, she did. ‘You don’t know me, do you?’ she said. ‘You have never seen me here, and you won’t again. If I catch you looking at me through the windows here, I’ll have you put to the asylum.’ She said. ‘You wouldn’t like that, would you? They are cruel to people in the asylum.’ She said„.” [4](P263)

3.The second level of suspense: Rebecca’s death-- accident? Suicide? Or murder? In the front of the novel, we get message from Mrs. Van Hopper’s mouth that Rebecca is drowned nearby the bay of Manderley. So, it is an accident? Maybe not. If only she and Maxim were an affectionate couple. And as we have analyzed the first level of suspense, the truth of Rebecca’s death is the second level. According to the position of the suspense in the whole writing, suspense can be classified to partial suspense and full-text suspense.

As in the first level of suspense, Rebecca and Maxim's relation doesn't expose unless Chapter 19. It’s a full-text suspense. Now, a second level of suspense forms. Readers may guess and look back again. We all wonder if there is something that shows. Yes, when Maxim tells "I" that he shoots Rebecca, readers may stop again to think over.

The poem appears in the front of the novel is a significant indication.

"The volume was well worn, well thumbed, falling open automatically at what must be a much-frequented page." [4](P36) Why does Maxim always read this page of the poetry? What is its importance? Daphne is a careful and smart designer. She wouldn't write words wastefully. Every word leads to suspense.

"I fled Him, down the nights and down the days;

I fled Him, down the arches of the years;

I fled Him, down the labyrinthine ways

of my own mind; and in the midst of tears

I hid from Him; and under running laughter.

Up vistaed slopes I sped

And shot, precipited

Adown Titanic glooms of chasmed fears,

From those strong feet that followed, followed after." [4](P36)

Maxim takes along this poetry and reads this page time to time. Is he fleeing something? What is he hiding from on earth? In the latter chapters, Mrs. Danvers mentions about Rebecca's laughs. Say, when Rebecca fights with her cousin and wins. She cracks her whip over his head and down he comes, head-over heels, cursing and laughing.

"So was everybody who knew her. She didn't care. She only laughed. I shall live as I please, Danny" [4](P256)

Rebecca makes men love her but she just laughs and doesn't care them at all. She won't love anything, except herself.

Rebecca's laughs shade Maxim always, they are curse to Maxim. After shooting Re

becca, he is living with fear to be found out.

Rebecca sits on the hills above Monte Carlo, laughing, tearing a flower to bits in her hands, after a bargain with her husband. She laughs at her husband's care about his Manderley. She laughs at his sacrifice on pride, honor, personal feelings, every quality about fame. After her bargain with Maxim, she laughs like the devil. "She threw back her head and laughed."[4](P291) Because she knows that Maxim can’t prove anything against her, she has got a big triumph.

"She waited a minute, rocking on her heels, and then she lit a cigarette and went and stood by the window. She began to laugh. She went on laughing, I thought she would never stop." [4](P292)

Even when she is shot by Maxim, she is still smiling. "I fired at her heart. The bullet passed right through. She did not fall at once. She stood there, looking at me, that slow smile on her face, her eyes wide open..." Maxim hasn't realized this meaning of the smile until (in the end of the novel) they get files from the doctor that Rebecca has got a cancer before she dies. She foresees the whole thing. So she lies to Maxim on purpose. It is the last supreme bluff. She wants to be killed by Maxim that means to destroy him, also. That is why she laughs. That is why she stands there laughing when she dies. What a wicked and cunning laugh it is!

As in the poem, Maxim lives under Rebecca's damn laughs. All this strained shapes answers the second suspense: Maxim can’t bear any longer and kills Rebecca. It is neither an accident nor a suicide.

"...And in the daytime, Frith would hear him (Maxim) in the library pacing up and down. Up and down, up and down."[4](P180) In addition, Maxim doesn't want to go to the beach where the white cottage stands. He says impatiently," I never go near the bloody place, or that Goddamned cottage. And if you had my memories you would not want to go there either, or talk about it, or even think about it." [4](P122) Maxim kills Rebecca in that cottage one night. It is no wonder that he says such words in chapter 19. Another clue for the second level of suspense.

4. The third level of suspense: whether Maxim can escape from Rebecca's conspiracy? The first two levels of suspense have given readers large space to image. We rely on our experiences and imagination to what is happening. The art of the suspense lies in this. People like unexpected answers and intricate plots. Daphne attracts not only reader's attention but also their abilities to investigate. There are two possibilities: Maxim will be sentenced because of murder if it is Rebecca who wins the game. Will she? Or can Maxim escape? At this point, suspense pushes the story to a new high tide.

4.1The first turning

Because a ship strands near the bay of Manderley, Rebecca's little boat is discovered, so is her dead body. Maxim told "me" everything about his murder of Rebecca. But to our surprise, they are lucky enough. Because the magistrate judges Rebecca is

trapped there, in the cabin. The jury will believe. Every one is relaxed to read this phrase. Though in the inquest, holes made by Maxim are referred, the jury considers it as a suicide, without sufficient evidence to show the state of mind of the decease. Anyhow, Maxim and "I" are away from danger, no matter the judgement is an accident or a suicide.

4.2 The second turning

However, Favell appears with a note in Manderley. With this note which Rebecca writes to Favell, Favell can overturn the jury's judgement, Maxim will be sentenced. This time, can Maxim be lucky enough? There is suspense again.

Daphne emphasizes that tension step by step.

"There was no sound but the steady falling rain. It fell without a break, steady, straight, and monotonous."[4](P343) This is the situation while they are waiting for Colonel Julyan, the magistrate of Kerrith, to investigate. Then Ben is brought as a witness. But Favell fails. Being frightened by Rebecca, Ben insists on seeing nothing.

4.3The third turning

And all of them have to go to London to search for a doctor who Rebecca has met the day she dies. They drive to London to the doctor's. "I" am upset. "We did not know what we should find at the end of our journey. The future was unknown."[4](P373) To everyone's surprise, the doctor's files show that Rebecca gets a cancer! So it's naturally to accept her death as a suicide. Favell can't frighten Maxim any more. How unexpected the result is!

5. Conclusion

In this novel, suspense skill has been used in a specific way and arranged well. Moreover, smaller suspense has mutual relations in or among each level. This kind of arrangement not only becomes the motive force which helps the plots develop but also draws readers to read and guess what is in the next step.

In conclusion, skill of suspense is used as an art in Rebecca, which makes it to be one of most famous suspense novels in the 20th Century.

References

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