Graham Greene's The Human Factor and Kazuo Ishiguro's The Remains of the Day

Graham Greene's The Human Factor and Kazuo Ishiguro's The Remains of the Day

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The twentieth century is the century with the greatest loss of human life in the history of civilization. It was a time of mistrust and espionage. To be loyal is defined as “faithful to one's oath, commitments, or obligations” (OED). Some loyalties are bought, while others are earned. Earned loyalty tends to last while loyalty that is bought tends to fade. Two books, The Human Factor by Graham Greene and The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro show this difference. While both characters demonstrate external loyalty, Stevens’ loyalty was purchased, and Castle’s was earned. Castle’s genuine loyalty allows him to risk his life, while Stevens’ loyalty is only compliance.
Stevens, in The Remains of the Day, lives only to serve. Whoever employs him is awarded with a blind loyalty. He works tirelessly to please his master. No act is too great or small to complete. All it takes is for a a wealthy man to give him his paycheck and in return they get his life. Stevens is not one to take time off. He dedicates his life to the house. His mind is always on the subject of his job. His actions all concern his role as the butler of the house. He puts it ahead of family, of love, of his morals. He lets the love of his life slip through his fingers because of his devotion to the job. He believes “a butler who is forever attempting to formulate his own 'strong opinions' on his employer's affairs is bound to lack one quality essential in all good professionals: namely, loyalty” (Ishiguro 165). Stevens sounds sure of himself, he uses bound as if to say it going to happen, like no good butler can have their own opinions. He admits to unquestioning faith. He believes to be loyal is to be a robot. He only believes in what he is ...


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...e knows exactly what he doing, there is no part of him that questions himself. His loyalties were earned and he does not take that lightly.
The Remains of the day show that bought loyalty is not true dedication, while The Human Factor show earned loyalty is valued more than life. One has his loyalty earned by being bought, one has his earned by them saving his wife. Both dedicate their lives the causes of those who they owe their loyalty too. However, ones loyalty does fade, and the other’s never waivers. Devotion to a cause is always tested, and only those with true sincerity decide to stick around.



Works Cited

Greene, Graham. The Human Factor. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1978. Print.
Ishiguro, Kazuo. The Remains of the Day. New York: Knopf, 1989. Print.
Simpson, J. A., and E. S. C. Weiner. The Oxford English Dictionary. Oxford: Clarendon, 1989. Print.

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