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Presentation of Stevens - The Remains of the Day

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Introduction

Examine how Ishiguro presents the character of Stevens in the opening part of the novel (up to p45) During the opening of The Remains of the Day, Ishiguro presents the character of Stevens through a first person narrative. Readers are presented with a character that is often quite pretentious, putting on a fa´┐Żade in order to present himself as a "great" butler. Through the first person narrative Ishiguro lets the character gradually reveal himself to the readers and in doing so, lets Stevens show his absurdities to the reader himself. In the opening of the novel, Ishiguro shows the readers how absorbed Stevens is with his profession as a butler, believing it to be the most important profession in the world. Also within the introduction of the novel, Ishiguro presents the readers with Stevens's feelings of nostalgia through the retrospective structure of the novel. From the very beginning of the novel it is clear to the readers that Stevens is a very reserved and formal character. The language he uses is very precise and correct. ...read more.

Middle

Stevens doesn't "take Mr Farraday's suggestion at all seriously". Stevens looks down on the American way of life and he doesn't take Mr Farraday seriously because he doesn't know what is "commonly done in England." By saying this, Stevens suggests that what is convention in England is the right thing to do, without a doubt. Here, not only has Ishiguro presented Steven's snobbery towards all things foreign but also shows his patriotic character. Stevens's patriotic character is later reinforced by Ishiguro when Stevens is describing a view of the English countryside. Stevens believes the English landscape "possesses a quality that the landscape of other nations....inevitably fail to possess." Stevens tells the readers the view possesses the quality of "greatness", in doing so Ishiguro demonstrates how Stevens is incredibly proud of being British but furthermore I believe Ishiguro is also showing readers that Stevens himself likes Britain's landscape because he is attracted to simplicity in his life. Stevens dislikes other nations "dramatic" surroundings, which I believe presents to the readers Stevens love of restraint. Very early on Stevens alerts readers to his relationship with Miss Kenton through his defensive attitude towards her letter, asking readers "why should I hide it?" ...read more.

Conclusion

This is of course very ironic as Stevens, in parts of the novel, describes things that happened over 20 years ago. In using irony like this, Ishiguro lets Stevens reveal his own absurdities to the readers and also again presents the disguise Stevens has, in which he is never quite true to himself or the readers. Throughout the opening of The Remains of the Day, through a first person narrative, Ishiguro presents the character of Stevens. By using a retrospective structure Ishiguro is able to emphasise Stevens love for the past and tradition and Steven's strong feelings of nostalgia. Through the reminiscence Stevens has in the first part of the novel, Ishiguro is able to show the readers how obsessed he is with his profession, although readers may fined this to be irritating to begin with, I believe most begin to pity Stevens's way of life. It is evident that Stevens is a very restrained character, who will do anything to please his employer, as this is what a "great" butler should do. By demonstrating Stevens attempt at bantering and telling a joke, Ishiguro presents the character's social ineptness. Ishiguro's use of irony also lets Steven's himself reveal his own absurd nature to the readers. ...read more.

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