Becky (A Little Princess) Becky is the scullery maid in Frances Hodgson Burnett’s 1905 children’s book, A Little Princess. The title refers to seven year old Sara Crewe, a child at Miss Minchin’s boarding school in London, whose wealthy father dies abroad while she is there, and she is turned from a schoolgirl into a servant, sharing quarters with Becky. Becky proves to be a true friend to Sara, helping her to accept the restrictions of her lowered circumstances. As Sara has never been condescending to the servant girl, so Becky responds in kind. Now that Sara is poor, the only thing that Becky wishes to do for her is to be her servant. In time-honored tradition, Sara’s wealth is restored and having grown older, she takes Becky away with her to a just reward.
Becky Sharp (Vanity Fair) Becky Sharp is the incomparable young woman in Vanity Fair, William Makepeace Thackeray’s satire of 1847/8, who willingly plays up the contrast between herself and Amelia Sedley, the good young heroine of the piece. She is a witty, cunning, sly, conniving, cheating, faithless, manipulative, amoral social climber. In other words, she is completely memorable! She shamelessly flirts, marries secretly, has affairs, has a child but neglects him, and in general, roundly shocks society. Her come-uppance? A healthy retirement, funded by her wealthy (albeit neglected) son, in which she is free to do charitable work. Let it be said in her favor, however, that she was said to be often unimpressed and bored with the fruits of her social ambition. We should all be so lucky.
Becky Thatcher (The Adventures of Tom Sawyer) Speaking of Mark Twain, Becky Thatcher is his creation out of the pages of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, published in 1876. She is the daughter of the wealthy Judge Thatcher, quite the little aristocrat in Tom’s eyes, and he falls in love with her at first sight. She is an enchanting little girl with long blonde hair and definite opinions. Tom wins her heart for good when he takes the blame for a misdeed of her making, and sustains a whipping for it. Becky Thatcher’s character was based upon a real little girl Samuel Clemens attended school with in Hannibal, Missouri – Laura Hawkins. (When the humorist became famous, at least twenty-five women claimed to have been the model for Becky, but Mr. Clemens named Miss Hawkins.)
Rebecca “Becky” Bloomwood Brandon (Confessions of a Shopaholic) Becky is the main character in the British author Sophie Kinsella’s Shopaholic Series, started in 2000, and also made into a popular American movie, Confessions of a Shopaholic in 2009, starring Isla Fisher. Although Becky is a financial advice journalist, she doesn’t follow any money rules herself, with terrifying and hilarious results. The series focuses on the mishaps into which her shopping addictions lead her. Chick lit it may be, but it’s very popular – Becky even has a fan club!
Rebecca de Winter (Rebecca) Rebecca de Winter is the unseen but very much felt protagonist of Daphne du Maurier’s popular novel of 1938, made into an equally popular movie in 1942. The unnamed, timid and unsophisticated main character marries Max de Winter after the death of his first wife, Rebecca. When she accompanies him to his country estate, Manderley, she finds Rebecca to be ever-present in the household, and especially, in the memories and adulation of the sinister housekeeper, Mrs. Danvers. Rebecca was beautiful, she was accomplished, she was bold, she was everything the second Mrs. De Winter is not. Fearing that she can never live up to her predecessor, and terrified of losing her husband’s love, she makes mistake after mistake, with the wicked help of Mrs. Danvers. But as time goes by, she begins to suspect all was not as it seemed. In a thrilling denouement, we are exposed to the awful truth of who Rebecca really was, and what really happened to her.
Rebecca of York (Ivanhoe) Rebecca is the beautiful Jewish healer in Sir Walter Scott’s 1819 historical fiction, Ivanhoe, the daughter of Isaac, the moneylender. She is pursued by many men, but stands firm in her virtue and goodness. When Ivanhoe is wounded in a jousting tournament, she bravely ignores the injunctions against Christians and Jews mixing, and nurses him back to health, falling in love with him at the same time. Knowing that her love can never be returned, she bears this affront calmly. Ivanhoe returns the favor by rescuing her later as she is about to be burned at the stake for witchcraft. Fiercely proud of her heritage, she has spurned an offer of clemency in exchange for converting to Christianity. Ultimately she and her father leave England for a Muslim land, knowing that understanding and respect will not come to them in their lifetimes. She remains single, a proud and valiant heroine of her people.
Rebecca Rowena Randall (Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm) Rebecca is Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm in the Kate Douglas Wiggins’ childrens’ classic of 1903. It was also made into a popular 1938 movie starring – you guessed it – Shirley Temple. Rebecca is an irrepressible 10 year old girl from an impoverished family who goes to live with her two paternal aunts at the beginning of the novel, and a lovely and still high spirited, young woman at the end. In between she alternately charms and exasperates her aunts and the townspeople, makes new friends, and matures into a generous human being. It is a lovely look at a more innocent time, but lest you think it too saccharine, remember that two giants of American literature, Jack London and Mark Twain, were among the first to welcome and praise this heroine.
Jenny Rebecca - a song by Barbra Streisand
Jenny Rebecca - a song by Olivia Newton-John
Rebecca - a song by Hazel O'Connor
Rebecca - a song by Meg & Dia
Rebecca - a song by the Pat McGee Band
Rebecca Deville - a song by Mason Jennings
Rebecca Lynn - a song by Bryan White
Rebecca Wild - a song by The Walkabouts
Romeo & Rebecca - a song by Blink 182
Dear Rebecca, Winter Is Here (Jean Craighead George) - "Winter is here. It was brought by little hands of darkness. Each little hand is a few minutes long." Thus a woman begins to explain the solstice to her young granddaughter. In spare prose, George details all the wonders that the season brings. Recommended for ages 4-8.
Meet Rebecca: American Girls Collection (Jacqueline Dembar Greene) - Rebecca Rubin is a lively nine-year-old girl growing up in a big Jewish family in New York in 1914. She dreams of becoming an actress, but her parents and grandparents have traditional ideas and don't think young ladies should perform. When Rebecca learns that her cousins in Russia are in great danger and must escape to America, she puts on a show to raise money--until her disapproving grandmother steps in. Unexpectedly, Rebecca finds another way to earn money. But for her plan to work, she'll have to keep it a secret. This book is part of a series. Recommended for ages 9-12.
Princess Rebecca and the Lion Cub (Vivian French) - The Tulip Room princesses are thrilled when they ride to the end-of-term ball on an elephant—but they spot a lion cub in peril! Will Rebecca save the day? Recommended for ages 4-8.
Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm (Kate Douglas Wiggin) - Eleven-year-old Rebecca Randall is quite a handful—and now she’s leaving her beloved Sunnybrook Farm to live with her well-to-do elderly aunts and get an education. But they were expecting Rebecca’s quiet, hard-working older sister instead. Can the bright-eyed and talkative girl win them over…especially her strict, rule-bound Aunt Miranda? Just as Rebecca’s “grand spirit” charms everyone in the story, it will captivate readers, too. This is part of a series. Recommended for ages 9-12.
Rebecca the Rock 'n Roll Fairy (Daisy Meadows) - The Dance Fairies' magic ribbons are missing! Without them, all kinds of dances are getting off on the wrong foot. Everyone is miserable, except for Jack Frost and his goblins. They have the ribbons . . . and it's up to Rachel and Kirsty to get them back! No one in Wetherbury can rock 'n' roll without Rebecca's magical ribbon. But will the goblins roll right out of town with it? Find the magic ribbon in each book, and help keep the Dance Fairies on their toes! Recommended fro ages 4-8.
Rebecca's Journey Home (Brynn Olenberg Sugarman) - Jacob and Gabe, ages eight and four, prepare for their mother's trip to Vietnam to bring home their new baby sister. The author is successful in explaining both the intricacies of adoption procedures as well as details of life in an observant Jewish home. A smattering of Vietnamese culture is also included. The appealing and bright watercolor illustrations show touches of whimsy and lightheartedness that add to the story. The true multicultural aspect of this book emerges as the baby is immersed into the Mikvah (ritual bath) and given her Hebrew name. She is Vietnamese, American, and Jewish, and, Mrs. Stein says, she'll be many more things someday. Mr. Stein replies, You can be as many things as you want to be. Or at least you can try. Recommended for ages 4-8.
Famous People Named Rebecca - Rebecca De Mornay (actress); Rebecca Jarvis (journalist); Rebecca Romijn (model/actress); Rebecca Schaeffer (actress), Rebecca Gayheart (actress)
Famous People who Named their Daughter Rebecca - Ally Sheedy (actress); Arthur Miller (playwright); Dustin Hoffman (actor); Elizabeth Montgomery (actress); Marlon Brando (actor); Rita Hayworth (actress); Sydney Pollack (actor/director)
Rebecca (from the Bible) - Rebecca figures importantly in the Bible and in fact shows up very early on in the book of Genesis. She is from the ancestral lands of Abraham and thus related to him as his grand-niece. She is also the sister of Laban, who will eventually become the father of Leah and Rachel (wives of Jacob). In the Bible, Abraham sends his servant to find a wife for his son Isaac in Mesopotamia (his homeland); he does not want Isaac marrying a Canaanite woman given their proclivity for idolatry. The servant is doubtful that a maiden will travel so far (from Mesopotamia to Canaan) to fulfill Abraham’s wishes, but he goes dutifully. Upon reaching the ancestral lands, he prays that God will give him a sign – which ever woman offers him and his camels water from her well will be the one. Before he is even done with his prayer, the servant immediately sees the beautiful Rebecca. She kindly offers this leathery old stranger water from her well, and so he knows she is the one. Returning to her household, and equipped with offerings of gifts, the servant asks to bring the maiden back to Canaan to marry Isaac. The family resists, wanting to keep the girl longer, but agree to ask Rebecca to decide. Women didn’t have much of a voice back then; Rebecca can be considered a feminist symbol for her free-will and independent-mind. “I will go.” She says. She returns to Canaan and upon seeing Isaac quickly covers her face with a veil, so impressed is she by his spiritual aura. After Isaac and Rebecca marry, it takes her 20 long years to conceive a child (now in ancient times, this would be serious torture for a woman like Rebecca). Both Isaac and Rebecca pray mightily for offspring, and finally she conceives twins. She feels them unsettled in her womb; worried, she goes to God. She is told that “the older will serve the younger” and that “one people will be stronger than the other.” We know now that this prophesy would be fulfilled. Her son Esau was born first and Jacob came out of her womb immediately after “holding the heel” of his brother. As Rebecca’s favorite, she would go onto help Jacob steal Esau’s birthright and blessing. She intuitively knows that Esau is simply not responsible or holy enough to receive the blessing himself. Rebecca devises a plan whereby Jacob – in the guise of Esau – will bring Isaac his goat meat as he lay blind and close to death. After his meal, Isaac will give his blessing to Jacob (unwittingly) and not Esau. Jacob immediately sees a flaw in his mother’s plan. You see, Esau is hairy and Jacob is smooth-skinned. Not to worry, Mama Rebecca had that one figured out, too. She takes the hairy skin of the goat and wraps it around Jacob. When he goes to his father, Isaac will feel the hair and know it’s Esau. Everything goes as planned, and Jacob receives the blessing. Of course, Esau arrives moments later to see this deception and furiously vows to kill Jacob, so Rebecca sends Jacob off to live with her brother Laban (this is how Leah and Rachel come into the picture). She would eventually die an old woman and never see the eventual reconciliation of her sons. Nonetheless, Rebecca is one of the more colorful women in the Bible – a matriarch, a free-thinker, a proactive go-getter – and if this isn’t enough, she’s beautiful, spiritual, compassionate and caring.