A Close Reading of Pages 100 to 115 of The Remains of the Day Essay

A Close Reading of Pages 100 to 115 of The Remains of the Day Essay

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"Examine pages 100 to 115 of Kazuo Ishiguro's novel "The Remains of the day" in detail.  Show by a close reading of key scenes within this how the novelist's language and form both reveals, and conceals, central issues of character, emotion, politics and memory."

 

Pages100-115 of Ishiguro's novel describe the beginning of a journey to the west country taken by a man called Stevens, (a model English butler). Stevens narrates the novel and Ishiguro writes in such a way that the reader is able to examine intersections of his memory, national history, politics of the era, and the way language is used to express emotion or to conceal it.

 

Ishiguro has shaped Stevens solitary motor journey as an ironic narrative that reveals more to the reader than it does to Stevens and therefore the reader should be very cautious when reading Stevens accounts, as he is not a reliable narrator.  For example, Stevens believes that he is making his trip to visit miss Kenton for "professional" reasons in order to offer her a job at Darlington hall. However if we examine closely we can see through Stevens's emotionless concealing language, that there are revealing signs that he is in fact in love with Miss Kenton.

 

 Stevens spent his earlier butler career moving from household to household trying to climb the social status ladder in order to achieve his ultimate goal...to become "a great butler". He continuously refers to the criteria that the Hayes society has put forward and sees his father as a role model. It is clear to the reader by seeing how many times Stevens mentions his fathers greatness that he loves, admires and respects his father. In his mind he sees...


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...e reasons why Stevens finds it so hard to banter with Lewis, as bantering requires a spontaneous, light-hearted response, which Stevens is incapable of. This brings about the question, 'Is there any depth beneath the surface of English people/language'?

 

Stevens' loyalty to his master shows that his perception of events is distorted and that his memory has been programmed to be selective so that his main focus and priority in life is his role as a butler. His relationship to his master parallels the colonizer's relationship to its colonized subjects. By hiding behind the mask of dignity, he loses opportunities to experiences political, sentimental and human interactions.  Part of this mask is portrayed by his emotionless use of language which conceals his inner feelings yet at the same time is extremely revealing to the reader.

 

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