The first chapter, in which the narrator supernaturally returns to Manderley, relives her experiences and mourns for the loss of such an exquisite property, is perplexing for the reader as the scene, characters and setting have not been established. This causes the audience to disregard the first chapter, as the second chapter begins with an entirely different setting and mood. Upon reaching the end of the novel, the reader grasps the meaning of the dream sequence, and the forgotten abstruseness is resolved.
The audience is left content with all details of the story revealed, but, like most gothic tales, also chilled and unsettled with the shocking conclusion. Rebecca shows elements of the horror genre through the structure, in which the details are revealed throughout the story, by being analogous to many crime shows of today. In television programs such as CSI, a section of the fictional offense is shown, after which the team investigates the murder or other wrongdoing, and eventually discovers the callous yet complete truth.
This order of events matches exactly with those in Rebecca, and it has the effect that we have an idea of the story, but become alarmed yet intrigued as more shocking details are revealed. The text is structured in a way that the scene is set and elaborated on throughout the book as the story and events take place, which causes the reader to experience confusion and a sense of incompetence. The fact that we are put in the place of the speaker allows us to experience everything she feels, knows and says.
The narrators lack of knowledge concerning Rebeccas death and murder is unnerving, as it makes us feel just as naive and oblivious as Mrs. de Winter. This is relevant to the gothic genre as it plays on the idea of being put in someone elses place, which seems supernatural and ghost-like, as if the murder is something we can only learn about through the narrator, as everyone else is already in the know. This idea is further explored when Mrs. de Winter goes to live at Manderley, and unintentionally takes Rebeccas place.
The ingenuousness of the narrator, and how she gradually learns the truth about the murder, allows us to relate, and displays the ghost-like element of the gothic genre. In conclusion, the structure of Rebecca is effective in exemplifying the gothic genre because it references the end of the book at the beginning which creates confusion and mystery. Its effect on the readers is significant because it follows the structure of many crime shows, and makes us feel clueless, like the narrator.