Remains of the Day
Kazuo Ishiguro’s Remains of the Day is about the struggles one man, Mr. Stevens, has with relationships with his father, Miss Kenton and his employer, but the struggle he focuses on the most is to be a “great butler.” He pushes himself physically to work as hard as he can, as well as mentally to determine what makes a butler great. Stevens sacrifices all normal human encounters with those around him in order to be an emotionless person. “When one encounters them, one simply knows one is in the presence of greatness” (44). Stevens, through many trials, proves himself to be a “great butler.”
Stevens possesses “the emotional restraint which only the English race are capable of” (43). When his father takes ill during a major dinner party, Stevens remains calm and goes on with his duties. After Stevens’ father passes away he says to Miss Kenton, “please don’t think me unduly improper in not ascending to see my father in his deceased condition just at this moment. You see, I know my father would have wished me to carry on just now” (106). Stevens is capable of going about his work after his father has died, which takes much emotional restraint. Although the reader may see this action as heartless, it is clear that Stevens respected and looked up to his father, therefore was upset by his death. Stevens believes his “father was indeed the embodiment of dignity” (34), which is what Stevens is trying to become.
Stevens also is successful in hiding his feelings when it comes to Miss Kenton. He is clearly in love with her, yet he hides his love behind his somber dealings. When returning from a date Miss Kenton asks Mr. Stevens, “Are you not in the least interested in what too place tonight between my acquaintance and I?” (218). Mr. Stevens acts as though he is more interested in returning to his work when really he is dying to know. Miss Kenton does all she can to...