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The Remains of the Day

Important Quotations Explained

Quotes Important Quotations Explained

"But that doesn't mean to say, of course, there aren't occasions now and then- extremely desolate occasions—when you think to yourself: 'What a terrible mistake I've made with my life.' And you get to thinking about a different life, a better life you might have had. For instance, I get to thinking about a life I may have had with you, Mr. Stevens. And I suppose that's when I get angry about some trivial little thing and leave. But each time I do, I realize before long—my rightful place is with my husband. After all, there's no turning back the clock now. One can't be forever dwelling on what might have been."

These words, spoken by Miss Kenton, are taken from the "Day Six—Evening / Weymouth" section of the novel. Miss Kenton, like Stevens, is not content with the decisions she has made in life. She reveals that she did not really come to love her husband until many years after she married him. After she makes the above declaration, Stevens says that his "heart is breaking." It is a tragic moment in the novel, for Stevens fails to tell Miss Kenton that he also had—and continues to have—deep feelings for her. The fact that neither his, nor her regret is ever relieved makes the ending of The Remains of the Day haunting, poignant, and tragic.