The novel Rebecca showcases a society that is very constrained by the typical gender roles of the time. Although at times quite subtle, this text explores a variety of gender roles, both for men and women. Rebecca was described by a few characters as being similar to a man. For example, when Mrs. Danvers speaks about Rebecca, she says "She had all the courage and spirit of a boy, had my Mrs. de Winter. She ought to have been a boy, I often told her that. I had the care of her as a child. You knew that, did you?" (18.118)
In many ways, Rebecca is a character who rebels against the typical constraints given to women of the time. She has power in her relationship with Maxim, engages in atypical sexual activities, and behaves in a manner unlike a typical lady of her social standing. She was a woman bound by the rules of her society who found a way to act autonomously.