The Remains of the Day

by: Kazuo Ishiguro

Miss Kenton

Miss Kenton is the former head housekeeper of Darlington Hall; she and Stevens's father were hired at the same time. Miss Kenton is Stevens's equal in efficiency and intelligence, but she has a warmth and personality that Stevens never displays. When Miss Kenton first starts working at Darlington Hall, for example, she brings flowers into Stevens's austere room to try to brighten it up. Stevens summarily rejects Miss Kenton's attempts to introduce flowers. Indeed, the two disagree over household affairs with great frequency. Initially, these battles of wits only seem to highlight the affection the two feel for one another, but as the years progress, Miss Kenton grows increasingly tired of Stevens's nagging and his unwillingness to admit any more personal feelings, even though this is the only way he knows how to communicate with her. She finally leaves Darlington Hall to marry someone else when it becomes clear that Stevens will never be able to let himself express his feelings for her. Miss Kenton, unlike Stevens, does not substitute Lord Darlington's values for her own; she makes decisions based on her own thoughts and beliefs. In this sense, she displays more dignity and personal integrity than Stevens ever does.