Yr. & Sec.:
I. Title, Author, and Copyright
“Remains of the Day” by: Kazuo Ishiguro, 1999
II. Summary of the Story/Novel
The novel opens with Stevens, the head butler at Darlington Hall, preoccupied with the idea of a journey which he foresees to take him through much of England’s finest sites. This journey has been a suggestion put to him by Mr. Farraday, his present employer. Not taking this suggestion seriously at first, Stevens reconsiders it upon receiving a letter from Miss Kenton, a former employee at Darlington Hall, who seemingly wishes to return as suggested by some distinct hints in that letter. The reconsideration is due to the idea of hiring an additional employee with an exemplary professionalism so as to address the dilemmas caused by an understaffed team. Stevens feels that with Miss Kenton back, the completion of a fully satisfactory staff plan will be possible. In the morning of the first day of his trip, Stevens meets a white-haired man who suggests he reach the top of a hillside footpath because there he will see the best view in all England. Stevens then sets off up the footpath and is amazed by the marvelous view of the surrounding countryside. This gives a large room for Stevens’ anticipations for the many splendid things the next days have to offer. Stevens arrives at Salisbury around 3:30 in the afternoon. At a guest house here, he settles his things. After a while, he ventures into the streets of the city which also impressed him though what remains with him at the end of that day is the view of the English countryside which he claims possesses greatness. Three stories illustrate Stevens’ notion of dignity. The first is about a certain butler who saw a tiger beneath the dining table one day but did not show any sign of panic or fear as he dealt with the situation. The second story involves Stevens’ father himself when he was enlisted to drive around Mr. Charles and two other drunken houseguests who, coarse and impolite, offensively comment on him and his employer yet he remained perfectly courteous in dealing with them. The last story is an encounter between Stevens’ father and an army general he detested because of his poor military maneuver during the Southern African war that resulted to the needless death of his son, Stevens’ older brother. By that time, this general was settling business with his employer. The general did not have any idea that his father hated him. He even compliments him on his outstanding service as the butler. Stevens believes that dignity is “something one can meaningfully strive for throughout one’s career.” It is still dark when Stevens wakes up the morning of the second day. He again ponders over Miss Kenton’s letter which implies her soon separation from Mr. Benn, a despair of having nothing to do in the remains of her life, and more apparently, nostalgia of her days of service at Darlington Hall. Stevens reminisces a particular morning when he raised with Miss Kenton the matter of her talking “down” to his father, that is, addressing him with his first name Williams instead of Mr. Stevens, who arrived at the house almost at the same time that she did. Miss Kenton, on the days after that, pointed out errors his father had been committing in carrying out his duties such as leaving the dust-pan in the hallway, reversing the chinamen’s positions, and leaving traces of polish on the fork. This led to the suggestion that he should be relieved of the many duties he had since he was already in his seventies. One afternoon, after his father collapsed, Lord Darlington told Stevens not to ask his father perform tasks in the International Conference to come. He broached the topic of responsibilities reduction to his father brief and straightforward one morning. His father did not show any emotion on this conversation. Steven’s thoughts move now to that Conference of 1923. This conference aimed to gather the most...
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