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The Remains of the Day

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