The Remains Of The Day Analysis

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Henry Thoeau once warned ‘Never look back unless you are planning to go that way’. This applies to Stevens in ‘The Remains of the Day’. Stevens embarks on a journey from Darlington Hall with the purpose of finding ‘new discoveries’, however he does the opposite as the journey results to the discoveries of his past mistakes which highlights his missed opportunities, thus all he can do is look back over his life with regret. Stevens is advised by a gentleman, 'Don't keep looking back all the time, you're bound to get depressed.' The ironic tone highlights that it is too late for Stevens to be warned as he has been emotionally repressed throughout his employment at Darlington Hall.
Chad Murray also believed that ‘Our biggest regrets are not for the things we have done, but for the things we have not.’ Murray’s quote accentuates Hardy’s downfall as his biggest regret was that he stopped loving his wife, Emma, towards the end of their marriage, and this regret haunted him for the remainder of his life. Hardy also reflects John Proctor’s regret of committing adultery with Abigail in ‘The Crucible’. Proctor’s regret not only haunted him, but also haunted the town of Salem. Consequently, these characters show that a person’s mistake not only affects that individual, but also affects those around them.
The Remains of the Day’, ‘The Crucible’ and Hardy’s collection of ’1912-13’ poems allows us to question, why do people regret the actions that they once believed were the right thing to do? These texts also emphasise that people do not regret their mistakes until something goes wrong, or until they lose someone close to them, therefore one must question whether regret is a mechanism for coping with loss, or whether it reflects a sincere a...

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...ion of regret will remain the same regardless of the change in period and genre. Many people may use regret to reassure themselves, for example Hardy, who seemed to view his regret as a means of showing that he once loved his wife. Whilst others use regret to accentuate their apology, similarly to Proctor who spent his life portraying his regret and praying for forgiveness from his wife. Most people do make mistakes and use their regret as a means of improving themselves; however, I believe that people will not regret their mistake until it is exposed, or until they have lost someone close to them, like Hardy. However, Ishiguro encourages us as readers to take every opportunity we are given in life as otherwise ‘Year after year goes by, and nothing gets better. All we [will] do is argue and debate and procrastinate’ and eventually regret our wasted opportunities.
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