The Remains of the Day

by Kazuo Ishiguro | Literature & Fiction |
ISBN: 0679731725 Global Overview for this book
Registered by wingjlautnerwing of Henderson, Nevada USA on 3/16/2009
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Journal Entry 1 by wingjlautnerwing from Henderson, Nevada USA on Monday, March 16, 2009
Purchased from the Goodwill Outlet in San Luis Obispo today.

Journal Entry 2 by wingjlautnerwing at Henderson, Nevada USA on Sunday, March 17, 2019
I saw the movie some time ago but hadn't read the book. I thought it would be good to do so, and finally I did.

The butler, Stevens, narrates. The hook is a trip he is taking, by car, as a vacation. Butlers are not in the habit of taking vacations, or at least they weren't at the time this took place, in the 1950s. At the time the entire enterprise of household management was undergoing many changes. For Stevens, this meant having to work with a severely reduced staff to maintain a large English house for its new American owner.

The owner, Mr. Farraday, has fewer requirements than the long-living Lord Darlington, who preceded him at Darlington Hall. He isn't even at home much of the time. Thus Farraday suggests that Stevens take some time off and see the country, using Farraday's car.

Being the consummate butler, Stevens has difficulty comprehending such a thing at first. But he had a letter from a former housekeeper and has been poring over it, reading between the lines that she may be interested in rejoining the staff at Darlington. He decides to visit her and feel her out.

Stevens' reminiscences about the old days are intertwined with plans for the trip and, as the book goes on, the days he spends on the trip itself. He begins by trying to define what makes a great butler and settles primarily on "dignity". He embraces this quality, even in his conversations with his elderly father, a former butler himself. Thus he stands an arm's length away from any kind of intimacy at all times. For he believes there is no separation between the professional and the personal in such a position.

Stevens also defines a great butler as one who has a position with an employer of great moral standing. Someone who is trying to make the world a better place. As he recalls incidents of his own employer a little of the air begins to leak out of the balloon, however hard he tries to keep everything stable. Darlington is revealed to be less of a paragon than suits his butler. For Stevens, the very worth of his own life is measured by the quality of his employer's.

We read a bit between the lines ourselves, in his memories of the times when the housekeeper, Miss Kenton, was at the house. He frostily keeps her at a distance, and she frequently reacts with heat. We come to see a gradual awakening of fondness in Stevens for Kenton. But will it lead to anything now, so many years later?

Journal Entry 3 by wingjlautnerwing at Starbucks @ W. Warm Springs & Julia St. in Henderson, Nevada USA on Monday, March 18, 2019

Released 2 mos ago (3/18/2019 UTC) at Starbucks @ W. Warm Springs & Julia St. in Henderson, Nevada USA

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