A Close Reading Of Pages 100 To 115 Of The Remains Of The Day

1435 words - 6 pages


"Examine pages 100 to 115 of Kazuo Ishiguro's novel "The Remains of the day" in detail.  Show by a close reading of key scenes within this how the novelist's language and form both reveals, and conceals, central issues of character, emotion, politics and memory."


Pages100-115 of Ishiguro's novel describe the beginning of a journey to the west country taken by a man called Stevens, (a model English butler). Stevens narrates the novel and Ishiguro writes in such a way that the reader is able to examine intersections of his memory, national history, politics of the era, and the way language is used to express emotion or to conceal it.


Ishiguro has shaped Stevens solitary motor journey as an ironic narrative that reveals more to the reader than it does to Stevens and therefore the reader should be very cautious when reading Stevens accounts, as he is not a reliable narrator.  For example, Stevens believes that he is making his trip to visit miss Kenton for "professional" reasons in order to offer her a job at Darlington hall. However if we examine closely we can see through Stevens's emotionless concealing language, that there are revealing signs that he is in fact in love with Miss Kenton.


 Stevens spent his earlier butler career moving from household to household trying to climb the social status ladder in order to achieve his ultimate goal...to become "a great butler". He continuously refers to the criteria that the Hayes society has put forward and sees his father as a role model. It is clear to the reader by seeing how many times Stevens mentions his fathers greatness that he loves, admires and respects his father. In his mind he sees his father as being 'above' him, which could be an explanation as to why Stevens was so insistent that Miss Kenton referred to his father "Mr. Stevens Senior" rather than "Albert".


However on the evening of 'Mr. Stevens seniors' death, any love or admiration Stevens may have had is far from apparent. It is obvious that Stevens is particularly proud of being a butler because it is a role that "serves humanity". Yet, ironically, this role also demands a remoteness, a suppression of emotions which is distinctly 'inhuman'. As a result of this, Stevens reflects a mechanistic personality which has been programmed to think and react, regardless of his true feelings.


This is illustrated on the night of his father's death by his failure to serve his father. It is in this scene that we observe that memory is a filter for Stevens. When describing the evening he fixates on the glittering occasion downstairs to distract him from his father's death .


Most people's natural inclination would be to go upstairs and see their father and Ishiguro illustrates this point by allowing the cook to show more emotion. Clearly Stevens is suppressing his true emotions, as they are too ...

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