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Essay: Daphne Du Maurier

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  • Published: 2 November 2015*
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I. History
Daphne Du Maurier was born on May 13 in 1907, in London. Daphne was born into a rich and well known family. Daphne’s grand-father was a great artists and writer. Her father, Gerald, the most famous Actor Manager of his day. Daphne’s mother was a talented actress. She had two sisters, on older, Angela, and a younger sister named Jeanne. She had a very spontaneous child hood, her family had lots of money did many activities together. Daphne and her sisters were home-schooled by the governess. From the beginning Daphne was very fond of writing, one of her influences was Katherine Mansfield. (Forster)
When Daphne was younger, her father wished very much for a boy. He treated her more like a boy than a girl. She always hated dressing as a girl while she was growing up and most of the time she did not dress like a girl. Daphne and her sister Jeanne wore boy shorts and shirts and ties and thick schoolboy socks and shoes, the liked to dress exactly like boys in their ear. Her family did not realize Daphne convinced herself she was a boy. When Daphne started her menstrual cycle is when ‘the end of being boyish’ occurred. (Forster)
The only person who recognized how fiercely Daphne resented her own gender was her governess, Miss Maud Waddel. The du Maurier girls called Maud ‘Tod’, Tod was a character who talked a lot and had decided opinions. Within a very small matter of time Daphne was devoted to Maud. Daphne and Tod’s relationship was the first outside family relationship, it was very important to Daphne. (Forster)
Daphne was very difficult to live with; her parents never openly criticized her. They did everything possible to occupy and amuse her and in spite of some arguments remained long-suffering and concerned. Her parents felt she needed a life other than the one they indulgently offered her, they offered the idea of a finishing school abroad. Her older sister Angela had already been to French finishing school but she did not like it, but Daphne was very different from her sister. Her parents felt it would be different for Daphne. In the spring of 1925, before Daphne’s eighteenth birthday, arrangements were made for her to go to Camposena, a village near Meudon, outside Paris. (Forster)
At Camposena, Daphne felt very out of place, most of the girls were English. Daphne had a rude awakening when she went to school, she was no one over there, her family name was no one and she was not popular like she had always been from her family. Daphne’s beauty was admired by the other girls. She was slim, blonde and strikingly attractive. Daphne became close to a women called Mlle Yvon, who had became ‘Ferdy’. Talking to Ferdy was not like talking to Tod. When Daphne had left to Camposena, the plan had been that she would spend only a term there but she stayed for three. (Forster)
Her last term was a disaster, she became ill with influenza and had not the resistance to throw it off. Her parents wanted to come home immediately but it was not a wise choice, instead she was moved to Paris, to the luxurious Crillon Hotel. A American friend of the du Maurier’s was living there at the time, she offered to supervise the care and medical treatment Daphne needed. Daphne cried often, which was not common of her. She seen 1926 as a crucial year in her life and hated it. Her health was getting better but her anxiety about her own life was increasing. (Forster)
Her sickness put her in a place where she did not want to continue with her studies, she returned him and was miserable for a while. Eventually she gradually started to do more things, she learned how to drive and was given a dog, and dogs were not new in her life. She soon found a love for short stories, she felt it was the only talent she had. Her first story she completed in Brittany was La Sainte-Vierge. (Forster)
In 1931, Daphne meets ‘Tommy’, she saw the difference in him, she found him very exciting. She was attracted to him sexually; she had never been attracted to a man this way before. By the middle of June she had accepted to marry him. They worried how she would adapt to his life. It became difficult with the long distance between them, she felt loneliness. (Forster)
Daphne’s best seller was Rebecca, she was not sure her novel would make the impact her publisher anticipated. The summer of 19938 was Daphne’s happiest she had ever been. She had never before entered the mind of her character to this extend. In his book she did not want to write about just love of a marriage she wanted to write about the balance of power in marriage. (Forster)
II. Critiques/Review
According to Richard Kelly some of Du Maurier’s work stands out as landmarks in the
development of the modern Gothic tale. She brings new life in the old form of the Gothic novels. If Daphne had only written Rebecca, she would still be one of the greatest shapers of popular culture and the modern imagination. In many ways Daphne’s life resembles a fairy tale. She was very much obsessed with the past. In some of her novels she went beyond the techniques of the formulaic romance to achieve a powerful psychological realism reflecting her intense feelings. Daphne Du Maurier’s work is much more than a simple thrill or mystery. It is a profound and fascinating study of an obsessed personality, of sexual dominance, of human identity and of the liberation of the hidden self. (Kelly)
From the Book The Bloomsbury Guide to Women Literature, Daphne was a English novelist, dramatist, short story writer, biographer. She was born in London, Daphne was educated at home and in Paris privately. Daphne lived in Cornwall most of her life. Many of Du Maurier’s work has formed the basis of a number successful feature films. Rebecca typifies Du Maurier’s characteristic blending of romance Gothic, a strong tradition in English women’s fiction. Her other writing include a study of her family.
Daphne Du Maurier, a world-wide and enduring bestselling author for nearly fifthy years. She has a loving family, devoted friends. Her novels and stories gave pleasure to millions and among them were at least three worthy of a place in any literacy canon’Rebecca, The Scapegoat and The house on the Strand. Through her writing she lived more truly than she did in her daily life. The fire of her imagination is what warmed and excited her millions of readers, and still does.
She was one of the most famous heroines in English literature- she was up there with Jane Eyre and Elizabeth Bennet. One her novels was dismissed as a Gothic romance, a ‘women’s fiction’, Rebecca is not referred to as the most extraordinary psychological thriller. The novel traps us into our most primal fear of the rival.
III. Personal Analysis
Daphne Du Maurier was a significant writer in my eyes. She had a great way of tying in her personal obstacles into amazing stories and books. Daphne had a talent to turn those obstacles into amazing stories and books. She did not write stories just to receive fame and popularity. She wrote because she had a strong passion for writing. She did not appear on television shows to promote her book. Even though Daphne was born into a rich family she did not let her families fame go to her head. She is a great author in my eyes because she finds a way to relate her characters and their obstacles to her readers.
She does not allow her problems to destroy her life; she finds a way to turn those negative situations into something positive and constructive. She does not try to convince others to give her sympathy for the issues she has had or is going through in her life. She is very down to earth and puts her all into her work. She put pride into all of her work she wrote.
Daphne has attracted my attention from her stories. She does not only write great stories but they all have a meaning to them. I am attracted to thrills and supernatural with all meaning behind the stories. Daphne has put her entire life into her work and I can tell by reading her stories and learning more about her, she does not settle for anything other than the best. When Daphne was younger she was a ‘tom-boy’, I can relate because I do not consider myself a ‘girly girl’.
One of Daphne’s most famous quotes is ‘happiness is not a possession to be prized, it is a quality of thought, a state of mind’. I personal am very fond of this quote because if you are happy with yourself then you will have your happiness because you are the only you are impressing and making satisfied. If you have your mind set of something you can achieve it not matter how big the obstacles. Another quotes I find interesting is ‘when one is writing a novel in the first person, one must be that person’, to me this is saying, you must live the life of the first person to know exactly what is it like.
IV. Original Piece
June 7,
I have found us slowing drifting away
The distance has put us in a bad situation
I cannot help but overthinking of the worst
I fear you have found an interest in another
When I think of this
The pain in my heart is unbearable
I find things so distract myself
But how can I pretend it is all okay
Things on our minds have not been said
Such things such be held back
But yet I hold my tongue
I must control myself
Pull myself together
Some days I feel like giving up
But the good times out do the bad
I cannot stop feeling the way I do
The loneliness is overwhelming
I love you too much to watch it all disappear
I find myself in deep thoughts
Thoughts I cannot run away from
Daphne Du Maurier is the most significant female writer of her ear. Daphne found great techniques to use her personal life as a guide to write her books. Many people lack the talent to turn their obstacles into great stories. She did not care much for the fame, her writing was a lifestyle. She was obsessed with the past and found a way to turn it into a healthy obsession. Her work is much more than a simple trill or mystery.

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