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The Remains of the Day

Main Ideas Key Facts
Main Ideas Key Facts

full title The Remains of the Day

author Kazuo Ishiguro

type of work Novel

genre English aristocratic novel; tragedy; pre-World War II novel

language English

time and place written England, late 1980s

date of first publication 1989

publisher Faber & Faber Limited

narrator Stevens, a butler

point of view First person

tone Extremely proper and formal diction, with many English locutions, though hints of nostalgia and regret color most of the narrative

tense Present, when speaking about the present road trip; past, when speaking about memories

setting (time) Early 1920s–July 1956, with especial focus on the period leading up to World War II

setting (place) Darlington Hall; Stevens's road trip through the West Country to Little Compton, Cornwall

protagonist Stevens

major conflict Stevens's struggle with the knowledge that he has devoted his life to serving a man who may not in fact be a "great gentleman"; his regret that in doing so he has limited his worldview and been unable to accept or express his feelings for Miss Kenton

climax Stevens's brief meeting with Miss Kenton at the end of the novel

falling action Stevens's newfound resolve to perfect the art of bantering and to stop thinking about what might have been

themes Dignity and greatness; regret; loss

motifs Bantering; Stevens's rhetorical manner

symbols The English landscape; Stevens's father searching on the steps; Giffen and Co.

foreshadowing Stevens's occasional offhand allusions to events that turn out to be highly significant later in the narrative