The Remains of the Day Cover

The Remains of the Day

Kazuo Ishiguro

An English butler questions the direction of his life, reminiscing about past events during a road trip.

The evening's the best part of the day. You've done your day's work. Now you can put your feet up and enjoy it.

The Remains of the Day follows English butler, Stevens, resident of Darlington Hall where he has worked for thirty-four years. Opening in July 1956, Stevens is in the middle of preparing Darlington Hall for its new owner, the American, Mr Farraday, after its former owner, Lord Darlington’s, recent death. On Farraday’s insistence, Stevens decides to take a road trip. The purpose of the road trip is to visit Darlington Hall’s former housekeeper, Mrs Benn (née Miss Kenton), who, now married, seems unhappy and may be willing to return to her position at Darlington. During his travels, Stevens flashbacks over his time at Darlington Hall. He reminiscences about his former employer, other staff members he drew up friendships with and his working relationship with Miss Kenton, hinting at deeper feelings towards her.

Written as Stevens himself, The Remains of the Day takes on a well-mannered and subtle writing style, perfectly conveying Stevens’ character and fitting his profession as a butler for the upper classes. Ishiguro expertly manages to create a stunted character in Stevens, one that struggles to express emotional needs as he is devoted to a sense of duty. Governed by the example set by his father, Stevens tries to replicate his father’s ethos, sacrificing the development of his own convictions to remain loyal to whoever he serves, not forming a political conscience of his own. He seems to contain great pride in the loyalty he holds towards his profession and although has some conflictions during the book, views any sacrifices made as triumphs in his function as a Butler.

A striking book, it tackles the concept of complete obedience and the reverberating effects that it can have on one’s life. Ishiguro writes clearly and with character in mind, producing an entertaining read which is sure to delight any adult audience.

What do you think Stevens’ true feelings are towards Miss Kenton and vice-versa? Do you think they would have been happy if they had engaged in a romantic affair?

The firing of the two Jewish employees highlights a crucial part of Lord Darlington’s character, why do you think that both Stevens’ and Miss Kenton didn’t strongly oppose this action and what does Stevens willingness to comply suggest about him?

Why do you think Stevens doesn’t declare his love to Miss Kenton at the end of the novel?

Why do you think Stevens strives to be like his father?

What do you think is the main reason for Stevens reflecting on his life at this particular time?

How does Miss Kenton differ from Stevens in how she views her career?

What does Stevens’ decision to practice ‘bantering’ as a means of satisfying his employer say about how he views himself and his job?

Do you think Stevens has any true regrets about the life he has led?

How did you feel when Stevens prioritised fulfilling his duties over attending to his dead father?

The-Remains-of-the-Day-Discussion-Questions.pdf

After talking with Mrs Benn, he learns that she had no intention of coming back to work at Darlington and that she is content in her marriage. Mrs Benn does admit that she often wonders whether she would have been happier if she had married Stevens. Stevens realises that it is too late and that he shouldn’t dwell on the past, he sets back for Darlington, wondering what his next chapter in life will be and how to impress his new employer.

Ishiguro won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2017. The Swedish academy has described Ishiguro as he ‘who, in novels of great emotional force, has uncovered the abyss beneath our illusory sense of connection with the world.’

The Remains of the Day was adapted into a successful movie in 1993.

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Hello and happy Sunday! ~~~~~ My lovely instafriend @dawn.thepage tagged me for the #littlebookishthings challenge – thank you! 💕 So along with my current read I'm posting some (not so funny) bookish fun facts 😊 ~~~~~ Do you prefer bookmarks, paperclips or dog ears? I like bookmarks best. Seeing dog ears pains me almost physically. ~~~~~ Do you imagine yourself living a full life in a book world? Rarely. Dressing up for the Jane Austen Festival in Bath was probably the height of my booksession… 😅 ~~~~~ Do you prefer tomes or shorter books? I like variety and generally prefer shorter books (300 pages or less). Reading a tome is such a commitment … I have rarely regretted it though! ~~~~~ Do you have a book boyfriend or girlfriend? No. (Should I?!) ~~~~~ What's your darkest book secret? I find it hard to review thrillers and crime stories without giving away too much. Even though I love reading them, they hardly ever feature in my feed. ~~~~~ Thanks, Dawn! This was fun 🤗 I tagged a few bookstagram friends, but feel free to join either way! . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . #qotd#sunday#scones#booksandcoffee#bookshelves#bookshelf#coffeelover#Kunst#theremainsoftheday#teatjme#bookish#bookishfeatures#bookstagram#bookreview#bookstagramfeature#bibliophile#bookaccount#bookblog#bookblogger#buchblog#readoutside#lesen#bibliophil#booknook#wasvomtageübrigblieb#kazuoishiguro#currentlyreading

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One two, read the two; Three four, them adore Five six, don’t be in a fix; Seven eight, feeling great Nine ten, let’s try it again. … I am sure by now you are wondering – ‘our friend here is going a little nuts’. No no, I am fine you guys. 😀 … I am a one book woman, have always been. Juggling books felt like a far fetched idea, until the bug bit me here on Bookstagram. My first try went in vain and I gave up far too quickly. May be second time lucky?! And, that’s how I made myself a song 👆🏼to keep me going. 😀 … So, my current reads are – The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde and The Remains of the day by Kazuo Ishiguro. … Are you a book juggler or a one book person? Do you feel reading two books together makes us lose focus? Share your thoughts. ☕️ #bookstagram #bookishpeople #booksbooksbooks #wildwithwilde #currentlyreading #thepictureofdoriangray #theremainsoftheday

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