"What To Do With The Remains Of Your Day?" Analysis Of The Book: "The Remains Of The Day" By Kazuo Ishiguro.

3006 words - 12 pages

Stine Holt Jensen 09/12-2009 Essay on"The Remains of the Day" Engelsk - tekst, kritik og kanon
What to Do With the Remains of Your Day?We all know the feeling and most of us do it on a daily basis. The process of reflection at the end of the day is, more often than not, our minds' way of storing our experiences, feelings, emotions, and thoughts throughout the day. We contemplate our actions, reactions and idly wonder what we could have done differently, how these were perceived by our peers and how they affect our future interactions in similar situations. Basically, our social and empathic skills and also help us fine-tune our relations to other people, our emotions, and thus our personality. Reflection is how we evolve as human beings. Without reflection at the end of the day, we continue to tread the same waters, never realizing that these waters are merely a single drop in the ocean of life.This lack of reflection is a key theme throughout Kazuo Ishiguro's The Remains of the Day. The main character and narrator of the book, Mr. Stevens, is a prime example of the necessity of reflection. He has spent his entire life in the lower rank of the English class system, doing the bidding of others and does so by negating his own feelings and emotions to the point where he loses a part of his humanity as seen with the death of Miss Kenton's aunt (Ishiguro pp 185-188). It is not until after having exited her room after she has asked him to that Mr. Stevens realizes that he did not offer his condolences. Immediately, he feels a pang of guilt, but represses the urge to re-enter and make amends. Instead, he vows to offer them later, but when the time comes he is completely unable to do so. Instead, he does the only thing he knows how to do - he begins discussing work related issues. In this discussion, we see yet another example of his lack of sympathetic insight; instead of acknowledging Miss Kenton's emotions, he substitutes them for professionalism and start discussing the newest recruits and their faults, thus indirectly criticizing Miss Kenton and her way of training them. This scene is an excellent example of Stevens' complete and utter lack of empathy; his outdistancing from his emotions makes him seem quite unsympathetic.However, the meticulousness and properness in his behaviour makes Mr. Stevens a very interesting narrator. Telling his story as a letter, a diary or a sort of autobiography, Mr. Stevens reflects upon his life for what seems like the first time. This is due to a series of events that tamper with Steven's way of life; the arrival of a new American employer with a whole new and modern approach to Mr. Stevens and the employees in general, the arrival of Miss Kenton's letter, and the fact that he has begun making mistakes (Ishiguro, p 5) which makes him uneasy. He states that it is the lack of personnel that is responsible for his mistakes, but this is merely an attempt of convincing himself that that is the case. In fact, it is simply...

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