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The Remains of the Day


The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro


"The Remains of the Day" is a profound exploration of the themes of duty, professionalism, and the cost of emotional restraint. Narrated by Stevens, a dedicated butler who has given his life to the service of Lord Darlington at Darlington Hall, the novel delves into Stevens' past and his unshakable loyalty to his employer, who is later revealed to have been a sympathizer with Nazi Germany.

As Stevens takes a road trip across England to visit Miss Kenton, a former housekeeper at Darlington Hall, he reflects on his life and the choices he has made. The journey becomes a metaphor for his internal exploration of his own identity, values, and missed opportunities, particularly in his relationship with Miss Kenton.

Ishiguro's narrative is subtle yet powerful, presenting a detailed portrait of English life and the complexities of the human heart. Through Stevens' eyes, we see the consequences of a life lived in the shadows of duty and the pain of unexpressed emotions.


  • Duty and Service: Stevens' life is defined by his role as a butler, embodying the utmost dedication to service. The novel questions the value of such dedication when it comes at the expense of personal happiness and moral integrity.
  • Pride and Dignity: Stevens prides himself on his dignity, derived from his professional role. However, this pride often blinds him to the more profound emotional and ethical aspects of life.
  • Regret and Lost Opportunities: The narrative is filled with moments of introspection and regret, particularly concerning Stevens' relationship with Miss Kenton and his blind loyalty to Lord Darlington.
  • The Complexity of Memory: Stevens' recollections are selective and often unreliable, highlighting the subjective nature of memory and its impact on our understanding of ourselves and our past.


"The Remains of the Day" is a quietly moving tale of introspection and the human condition. Ishiguro crafts a narrative that is both a critique of the British class system and a poignant look at the choices that define a life. Through Stevens, the novel explores the depths of self-deception, the importance of connection, and the painful recognition of one's complicity in a flawed system.