The Remains of the Day is a first person narrative of an English butler named Stevens on 6-day trip to the English countryside. Stevens could be considered as the “perfect” butler due to his serious personality, exemplary work ethic, and strong sense of loyalty. Stevens has been working as a butler at Darlington Hall for 34 years and was encouraged by his current employer Mr.Farraday to partake in the trip. Throughout his trip, Stevens recollects and reflects on his past experiences working under his former employer Lord Darlington prior to and during World War II. Stevens highly reveres Lord Darlington as a great and distinguished gentleman. However, as he continues to reflect on his time under Lord Darlington, Stevens starts to have doubts concerning Lord Darlington’s greatness. Stevens also reminisces about his relationship with a former housekeeper of Darlington Hall, Miss Kenton. During his trip, Stevens visits Miss Kenton with the hopes of persuading her to return to Darlington Hall, only to find that she had already moved on with her life. After recollecting and realizing the mistakes he had committed in the past, Stevens vows to make the best of what time he has left with his new employer Mr.Farraday.
The novel has seven chapters, in the form of a diary, each representing a day or part of a day during Steven’s trip. Stevens constantly switches between narration about his present d...
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...ord Darlington but also with his relationship with Miss Kenton. Throughout the novel, there are several hints that Stevens and Miss Kenton’s relationship could have developed into something deeper but this was hindered by Stevens’ strict professionalism. For example, when Miss Kenton announced that she had received a proposal for marriage, Stevens replied by saying, “Then may I offer you my congratulations.” (Ishiguro 833) Stevens later realizes that if he had acted differently at that occasion and showed more interest in Miss Kenton’s marriage then there would have been a chance that she would have ended up with him instead.
The central themes of the novel help the reader connect more with the main character Stevens. Because everyone experiences the feeling of regret, they could understand what Stevens was going through when he looked back at his past mistakes.
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