“The Remains of the Day” a Novel by Kazuo Ishiguro Essay

July 16, 2021 by Essay Writer

Updated: Jun 21st, 2020

Many literary critics find it extraordinary that Kazuo Ishiguro, being the pure Japanese, has succeeded in writing the novel in the English manner. In his novel The Remains of the Day, the author managed to catch the spirit of the true English prose. The novel is highly appreciated by the critics. In spite all the differences between such dissimilar cultures, there is one theme in the novel, which is common both for England and for Japan. This is the theme of the service. On the one hand, the Stevens unblinking devotion to his cause looks reasonable in the context of the Japanese culture. On the other hand, by the end of the novel Kazuo reveals all the contradictions that disclose the drama of the main characters. As to my opinion, the film adaptation of The Remains of the Day is one of the most successful film version that has been ever made.

In his novel, the author succeeded to reveal the true atmosphere of the manor house of the true English lord. The difference between the Americans and the English and between the peculiarities of their cultures is expressed on the example of the two owners of the Darlington Hall. The perfect example of it can be observed at the very beginning of the movie, where the fusion of the past and the present takes place.

Having received a letter from Mrs. Benn (Miss Kenton in the past) Stevens thinks of old times when the house has been full of servants. Now the Darlington Hall is practically empty. The new owner of it does not require such a great number of servants as a true English lord. And this is not the only difference between the old owner Lord Darlington and the American gentleman Mr. Farraday. In spite the Lord Darlingtons political views and even his sympathy to the Nazis, Stevenson is devoted to him. Stevenson and the old-fashioned noble lord are the typical representatives of the English society. Light minded and easygoing Mr. Farraday, who is always joking, on the contrary represents the American type of a gentleman. His jokes and banters confuse Stevens and he does not know how to react on them.

All his life Stevens dedicated to the servicing. For him it is more than profession, it is his living calling that demands dignity and greatness. Stevens fulfils his duties to the prejudice of his personal life. From the very beginning, it may seem that he is aloof from all the natural human feelings. Even when his father is death sick Stevens continues to perform his duties. His fervor of devotion to his profession impedes him from saying the necessary words when Miss Kenton leaves the Darlington Hall. Long after the Miss Kentons marriage, she confesses Stevens that maybe by leaving the Darlington Hall she has made a mistake, and all her life might have turned out in other way. But Stevens, wearing the mask of the butler, is still silent.

There is a difference in the perception of the Stevens image in the novel and in the film version. It must be admitted that in spite the certain mismatches in the plot, the actors playing does not spoil the images of the characters, but completes them. Comparing the main character of the novel and that of the movie, which is played by Anthony Hopkins, it is obvious that in the movie Stevens is more vivid and realistic. In the novel all the emotions and feelings, which the butler hides from everybody and even from himself, makes the image of the passionless and withdrawn person. In the movie, the actor by means of the gestures, pauses, and glimpses demonstrates these feelings. Somebody may say that it contradicts the mere idea of the novel. But as for me the perfect acting and staging gives this novel the new meaning.

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