The Remains of the Day

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“The Remains of the Day”
-post-colonial novel-

Postcolonialism, discussed from a literary approach, deals with the literature produced in countries that were colonies and by the colonized peoples responding to the colonial legacy by what the British-Indian writer Salman Rushdie called “writing back”, and thus confronting colonial cultural attitudes through literature. However, it may also refer to the literature written in other countries, which takes as its subject-matter the idea or experience of colonialism.

Postcolonialism includes a vast array of writers and subjects. In fact, the very different geographical, historical, social, religious, and economic concerns of the different ex-colonies dictate a wide variety in the nature and subject of most postcolonial writing. We can talk about postcolonialism from different points of view. . This diversity exists because the term postcolonialism is used both as a literal description of formerly colonial societies and as a description of global conditions after a period of colonialism. In this regard, the notion of the “postcolonial” as a literary genre and an academic construct may have meanings that are completely separate from a historical moment or time period.

Postcolonial literature, a category devised to replace and expand upon what was once called Commonwealth Literature, beginning with the 1980s, gived birth to the “postcolonial criticism” which, in a way, overlapped “postmodern criticism”. Postcolonial criticism is one that goes beyond the border of western culture and investigates the non-Western products of culture and traditions.

The postcolonial fiction is characterized by its unity in diversity. Each culture has contributed to the general outcome specific aspects and particular life styles. Thus, we can, for example, speak of certain general topics, or themes, that are common to most of the writings: the effect of the colonial experience, migrations, traumas from childhood caused either by the feeling of inferiority, poverty, or by rejection and the consequent alienation, the relationship society-individual, loneliness and loss of dignity. In most of the post-colonial novels certain aspects that can be discussed: integration or passing, social marginalization, ethnic conflict, interaction between people of different social backgrounds, the relation between the English and American culture.

Postcolonial literature has enriched world literature with outstanding pieces of writing, that can always stand next to the great masterpieces of traditional literature. One of this great pieces of writing is “The Remains of the Day” written by Kazuo Ishiguro.

Kazuo Ishiguro is now one of the most successful contemporary novelists writing in English, not only because of the books themselves, but also because of the films that were made after his novels. “The Remains of the Day “(1989), has been made into a famous film starring Sir Anthony Hopkins and Emma Thompson.

Kazuo Ishiguro may be regarded as a representative of the post-colonial novel in English, and a representative of the international novel. Of Japanese descent he manages a bitter, ironic analysis of the British society seen from a double perspective: that of an "insider", (he was only five when his parents brought him to England, hoping that one day they would return to Japan) and an “outsider" by birth. The famous "myth of return" is present here, too, only not with the novelist himself, but with his family. He sounds like a political dissident whose work is a kind of reaction against the British Empire, and his energy, imagination and dynamism seem to spring from this very revolt. It seems, though, that Ishiguro is actually revolted against himself, a revolt that he transposes against the establishment. He, just like most of his characters, is in search of himself, he is not capable of deciding...
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