1496 Words6 Pages
Through reading Kazuo Ishiguro’s The Remains of the Day and Bernhard Schlink’s The Reader, the protagonists have faced many challenges throughout the novel and the outcome has affected their lives, and relationships with other characters. Stevens in The Remains of the Days, allows his career to dictate his personal life and relationships, which leads to conflict amongst other characters and himself. On the other hand, Michael in The Reader falls in love with a woman who he feels betrays him and changes his perception of an idealized life. While both Stevens and Michael display difficulties in their separate lives, Stevens is more sympathetic than Michael because his inability of making decisions for his own good ultimately destroys his chances of love. In The Reader, Michael’s life is centered on Hanna and everything about her, which causes him to be unhappy at the end. Michael was fifteen when he had his first sexual encounter with her and after that incident he fell in love. Ever since that day, he was constantly thinking about her, making arrangements to see her and doing ‘boy friendly’ things such as, cooking and planning dinners. His life revolved around her and when she left him, he was devastated and could not understand why she left so abruptly. After a while, Michael tries to move on, yet Hanna was still in his mind. When Michael comes across Hanna at the trial, he would say negative things like “…I felt nothing. Nothing at all” (95), but he would visit places that remind him about Hanna and talk to his father and judge to help her. He tells the readers one thing, but contradicts himself by his actions. Michael was unable to settle with another woman because he was looking for another Hanna. The betrayal he feels by Han... ... middle of paper ... he apologizes abruptly for their arguments, making him passive. This leads Michael to constantly escaping and avoiding confrontation. He is looking for answers to justify and excuse Hanna’s actions. Michael is always going to love Hanna and he just cannot seem to move on. Although Michael has these flaws, he is still able to make decisions that Stevens was unable to. Stevens indecisive has altered all his flaws. He is incapable of having a personal relationship with Miss. Kenton because it is unprofessional. He is constantly conflicted with his values and personal life. Stevens does not run away from confrontation like Michael and stands his ground when in arguments with the person he admires. Stevens’ inability to make decisions for himself makes him more sympathetic because he does realize what he could have had outside of the butler world, but chooses not to.
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