The Remains of the Day

Quotes

Important Quotations Explained

Quotes Important Quotations Explained

"The English landscape at its finest—such as I saw this morning—possesses a quality that the landscapes of other nations, however more superficially dramatic, inevitably fail to possess. It is, I believe, a quality that will mark out the English landscape to any objective observer as the most deeply satisfying in the world, and this quality is probably best summed up by the term 'greatness.' … And yet what precisely is this greatness? … I would say that it is the very lack of obvious drama or spectacle that sets the beauty of our land apart. What is pertinent is the calmness of that beauty, its sense of restraint. It is as though the land knows of its own beauty, of its own greatness, and feels no need to shout it."

This quotation is taken from the section titled: "Day One—Evening / Salisbury." When Stevens says that the "greatness" of the landscape stems from its restraint and its lack of demonstrativeness, he is also saying something about himself. He is constantly restrained, hiding his emotions in much the same way that the English landscape does not disclose anything dramatically or loudly. This narrow view on Stevens's part is one that eventually crumbles by the end of the story, when he realizes that his façade of calm has circumscribed his entire existence with indifference.