Unreliable Narration In The Remains Of The Day By Kazuo Ishiguro And Love And Death In Long Island By Gilbert Adair. Vanderbilt.

1443 words - 6 pages

4/15/03Different Strokes for Different FolksPeople make friends and acquaintances with similar backgrounds and similar viewpoints. When a story is told, the audience takes it for granted that the storyteller values the same things as they do. If the person has different beliefs and values, does that make the story less valid? The narrators in The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro and Love and Death in Long Island by Gilbert Adair are both preoccupied with different obsessions, and for this reason, they are unreliable narrators.The scene with Stevens' father in The Remains of the Day when he is on his deathbed is an example of his dedication to his work over his personal life. There are scenes that display Stevens passing on friendships because of his obligations but in this scene, Stevens leaves his father's side to go downstairs and wait on a party that Lord Darlington was hosting. Not only does Stevens pass on the opportunity to be with his father during his last moments, he shows no regret about his decision after the fact: "For all its sad associations, whenever I recall that evening today, I find I do so with a large sense of triumph."(Kazuo Ishiguro 45) Stevens misses the chance to be at his father's deathbed and instead of being angry or disappointed, he uses triumph to describe the situation. The only way that the reader knows that Stevens was upset is because the guests ask him if he is crying. Stevens was crying but when narrating the story, says that he was proud of what happened. He is the narrator of the story and does not communicate what happens to the reader. Stevens uses the same restrained manner in which he conducts himself with his acquaintances with the reader, putting everything he says under suspicion. This event makes Stevens an unreliable narrator.In the novella Love and Death in Long Island by Gilbert Adair, the narrator is overwhelmed by a different aspect of life. Where Stevens sacrifices everything for his work, Giles throws it all away for a crush. Mirroring Death in Venice, Giles begins satisfied with his life. Although he is a widower and has few social contacts, he is a successful novelist with a supporting trust-fund. Giles doesn't realize that he is missing something in his life until one day a deluge leaves him stranded at the local cinema. He decides to watch a movie based on one of Forster's writings but a wrong turn in the theater sends his life into a tailspin. Upon first sight of actor Ronnie Bostock, an obsession is born: "My obsession with Ronnie increased drastically." (Adair 66) Giles begins to collect everything he can about Ronnie Bostock including teen magazines and videos. At this point the reader knows that Giles has an obsession and his description is incredible. It becomes clear that Giles' feelings about Ronnie Bostock are unhealthy and increasingly so: "With each day now came an intensification of my secret life." (Adair 76) As more of Giles' life is overshadowed by this growing obsession,...

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