Register Guidelines E-Books Search Today's Posts Mark Forums Read

Go Back   MobileRead Forums > E-Book General > Reading Recommendations > Book Clubs

Notices

Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old 03-01-2012, 01:17 PM   #1
sun surfer
in this great future
sun surfer ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.sun surfer ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.sun surfer ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.sun surfer ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.sun surfer ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.sun surfer ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.sun surfer ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.sun surfer ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.sun surfer ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.sun surfer ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.sun surfer ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.
 
sun surfer's Avatar
 
Posts: 1,801
Karma: 17129704
Join Date: Jun 2010
Device: ipad mini & sony 950
Post The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro

What are your thoughts on The Remains of the Day?

Everyone is welcome to join in the discussion.

sun surfer is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-02-2012, 05:13 AM   #2
paola
Wizard
paola ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.paola ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.paola ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.paola ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.paola ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.paola ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.paola ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.paola ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.paola ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.paola ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.paola ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.
 
paola's Avatar
 
Posts: 2,778
Karma: 5324790
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: UK
Device: Pocketbook Pro 903, (beloved Pocketbook 360 RIP), Kobo Mini, Kobo Aura
running terribly behind, hope to make it by the end of the week-end!
paola is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-02-2012, 07:15 AM   #3
Asawi
Gadgetoholic
Asawi ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.Asawi ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.Asawi ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.Asawi ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.Asawi ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.Asawi ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.Asawi ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.Asawi ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.Asawi ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.Asawi ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.Asawi ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.
 
Asawi's Avatar
 
Posts: 1,379
Karma: 1953234
Join Date: Feb 2011
Location: Sweden
Device: Sony PRS-350, Assorted Nooks
I'm about halfway through and enjoying it a lot, as I also did with the movie.
I'm reading it really slow, because I enjoy it more that way.
Asawi is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-02-2012, 08:20 AM   #4
hpulley
Addict
hpulley is faster than slow light.hpulley is faster than slow light.hpulley is faster than slow light.hpulley is faster than slow light.hpulley is faster than slow light.hpulley is faster than slow light.hpulley is faster than slow light.hpulley is faster than slow light.hpulley is faster than slow light.hpulley is faster than slow light.hpulley is faster than slow light.
 
Posts: 288
Karma: 29760
Join Date: Nov 2011
Location: Ontario, Canada
Device: Kobo Vox, Playbook32
Slow here too, enjoying it though.
hpulley is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-02-2012, 11:21 AM   #5
fantasyfan
Guru
fantasyfan ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.fantasyfan ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.fantasyfan ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.fantasyfan ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.fantasyfan ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.fantasyfan ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.fantasyfan ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.fantasyfan ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.fantasyfan ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.fantasyfan ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.fantasyfan ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.
 
fantasyfan's Avatar
 
Posts: 831
Karma: 8241096
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: Ireland
Device: Kindle Paperwhite 2G Wi-Fi only, iPad, iPod Touch 3G, iPad Air
Smile

Quote:
Originally Posted by hpulley View Post
Slow here too, enjoying it though.
ditto!
fantasyfan is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-02-2012, 08:34 PM   #6
caleb72
Indie Advocate
caleb72 ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.caleb72 ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.caleb72 ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.caleb72 ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.caleb72 ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.caleb72 ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.caleb72 ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.caleb72 ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.caleb72 ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.caleb72 ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.caleb72 ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.
 
caleb72's Avatar
 
Posts: 2,716
Karma: 14668177
Join Date: Sep 2010
Location: Melbourne, Australia
Device: Kindle
I got my hands on the book, but I don't even know when I'm going to get to read it yet.

Luckily threads last forever I guess.
caleb72 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-02-2012, 08:53 PM   #7
Hamlet53
Noli Me Tangere
Hamlet53 ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.Hamlet53 ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.Hamlet53 ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.Hamlet53 ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.Hamlet53 ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.Hamlet53 ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.Hamlet53 ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.Hamlet53 ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.Hamlet53 ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.Hamlet53 ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.Hamlet53 ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.
 
Hamlet53's Avatar
 
Posts: 3,819
Karma: 46082991
Join Date: Mar 2009
Device: Kindle PW, Kindle Fire HDX 8.9"
So I have finished this. At first I found it not that appealing and was feeling embarrassed at being the first to nominate it. However, as I read on I came to really enjoy it. I will put the rest of my comments in a spoiler since so many seem to be still in the process of completing it.

Spoiler:
I liked the rather unique style of telling the story by which the first person narrator would appear to be discussing something rather mundane about the life of a high class English butler and then smoothly slide into important insights about his character or significant facts about Lord Darlington , his former employer.

I really wonder whether it was Stevens single minded pursuit of attaining the status “great butler” that left him so emotionally isolated from other human beings, or whether it was just a natural flaw in his character. As I said previously I liked the way this was slowly revealed through reminisces from the minor, such as his inability to recognize the attempts by Miss Keaton to try and form a personal, or even romantic relationship with him, or his inability to engage in banter, to the major such as his behavior as his father was dying.

Then there is the slow revelation of the history of Lord Darlington who we slowly come to see was at best naive and misguided concerning Hitler and the Nazis, and at worst for a time an anti-Semite Nazi sympathizer. Just as a side note until I actually read Edward VII mentioned as a separate character I thought Lord Darlington might have been a roman a clef for Edward VII.

I found the story at the end rather heart breaking as Stevens is left questioning the worth of his devoted loyalty to Lord Darlington as well as wondering whether or not he sacrificed the possibility of a relationship, perhaps marriage and children, with Miss Stevens. All to achieve his current position as a butler for Mr. Farraday, a position which he is beginning to wonder if he is losing the capability to perform up to the exacting standards he has always set for himself. Perhaps a sad and lonely “end of the day for him?”
Hamlet53 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-03-2012, 01:13 AM   #8
BenG
Wizard
BenG ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.BenG ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.BenG ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.BenG ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.BenG ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.BenG ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.BenG ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.BenG ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.BenG ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.BenG ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.BenG ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.
 
BenG's Avatar
 
Posts: 3,752
Karma: 58709696
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Innsmouth, MA
Device: Paperwhite
A comment on Hamlet53's spoiler:
Spoiler:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hamlet53 View Post
I really wonder whether it was Stevens single minded pursuit of attaining the status “great butler” that left him so emotionally isolated from other human beings, or whether it was just a natural flaw in his character.
Or perhaps his obsession with his career was to compensate for his emotional isolation.
BenG is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-04-2012, 09:06 AM   #9
issybird
o saeclum infacetum
issybird ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.issybird ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.issybird ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.issybird ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.issybird ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.issybird ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.issybird ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.issybird ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.issybird ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.issybird ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.issybird ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.
 
issybird's Avatar
 
Posts: 2,934
Karma: 37194376
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: New England
Device: 950, 350s, N7, &...
I'm not going to spoiler-tag this. I figure people who haven't finished can avoid the discussion until they're done.

I read this when it first came out and didn't like it that much; I found my opinion hasn't changed although it held my interest.

I don't buy the voice! To me, Stevens's ruminations sound late Victorian/early Edwardian. I can't believe anyone in the 50s would have such a tone, even with latitude given for his essential old-fashionedness. Nor do I think Ishiguro demonstrated any real knowledge of the running of a major house in the 20s and 30s or even of class issues.

The whole thing seems like a pastiche to me. Darlington Hall is clearly based on Cliveden and the activities of the Cliveden set, that aristocratic, pro-German coterie of the Astors at Cliveden, Halifax prominent among them. Unlike Darlington, however, once the war started the set was solidly loyal and suffered no repercussions.

I know the story is of Stevens's journey, real and mental, toward his epiphany, but the underlying story was too slight. I did like the device of his car trip and the ensuant associations evoking his memories. Ishiguro also succeeded in making me believe in the person of Stevens, facing the ruin of his life. It was impossible not to feel deeply sorry for him. I had much less patience with Miss Kenton, by the way. I don't know why she pined for Stevens for some ten years, and while she gets props for taking her chance to get out she loses points for those suggestive letters, unfair to both her husband and to Stevens. Oh, and I found the conversations between Stevens and Miss Kenton to be highly implausible; people don't talk that way! I know, I know, some of it can be charged to the unreliable narrator, but just the same. The best bit, I thought, was the excruciating scene when Darlington's cronies grilled Stevens about economic and foreign policy.

But perhaps the thinness of the story doesn't matter. I realized that it's meant to be a fable about Japanese responsibility for the Second World War. Stevens represents the Japanese people, who devoted themselves to living life with grace and never questioned nor criticized the actions of their god-emperor. The emperor parallels with Darlington, especially as he's seen to be someone with good intentions who was manipulated to evil purpose. While MacArthur undeified Hirohito, in the interest of social stability he placed the responsibility for the war on the war overlords, Hirohito more hapless than evil. So it was with Darlington.

Last edited by issybird; 03-04-2012 at 09:32 AM.
issybird is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-04-2012, 10:02 AM   #10
Asawi
Gadgetoholic
Asawi ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.Asawi ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.Asawi ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.Asawi ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.Asawi ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.Asawi ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.Asawi ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.Asawi ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.Asawi ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.Asawi ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.Asawi ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.
 
Asawi's Avatar
 
Posts: 1,379
Karma: 1953234
Join Date: Feb 2011
Location: Sweden
Device: Sony PRS-350, Assorted Nooks
I'm going without hiding under spoiler as well, so be warned...

I finished the book today, and now I want to se the movie - again (I think I've seen it twice before, quite some time ago)
I enjoyed both the book and the movie a lot, but I think I actually enjoyed the movie more.
I don't quite "get" Stevens, and I need to "process" him a bit more in my head before really discussing him.

Earlier in this thread Hamlet 53 wrote
Quote:
I really wonder whether it was Stevens single minded pursuit of attaining the status “great butler” that left him so emotionally isolated from other human beings, or whether it was just a natural flaw in his character.
And BenG replied
Quote:
Or perhaps his obsession with his career was to compensate for his emotional isolation.
I agree with Ben here.

I'm not sure what to think of his emotions though, since he hardly admits to having any. No happiness, no anger, nothing... Stiff upper lip, show nothing...

Miss Kenton, now she's something completely different! There is a passage about a third into the book that I really love when she gets p****d of with Stevens that had me laughing out loud.

The passage starts with :
Quote:
Unfortunately, Mr Stevens, I am extremely busy now and I am finding I have barely a single moment to spare. If only I had as much spare time as you evidently do, then I would happily reciprocate by wandering about this house reminding you of tasks you have perfectly well in hand
It tells us Miss Kenton has both guts and integrity. I love her!
Asawi is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-04-2012, 10:13 AM   #11
issybird
o saeclum infacetum
issybird ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.issybird ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.issybird ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.issybird ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.issybird ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.issybird ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.issybird ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.issybird ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.issybird ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.issybird ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.issybird ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.
 
issybird's Avatar
 
Posts: 2,934
Karma: 37194376
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: New England
Device: 950, 350s, N7, &...
I assumed that Stevens's emotional issues were down to his dad. He speaks to his father in the third person!. A typical case of the unloved child being unable to love. I can see Stevens's entire career as being an effort to live up to his father's expectations.
issybird is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-04-2012, 10:18 AM   #12
Asawi
Gadgetoholic
Asawi ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.Asawi ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.Asawi ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.Asawi ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.Asawi ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.Asawi ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.Asawi ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.Asawi ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.Asawi ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.Asawi ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.Asawi ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.
 
Asawi's Avatar
 
Posts: 1,379
Karma: 1953234
Join Date: Feb 2011
Location: Sweden
Device: Sony PRS-350, Assorted Nooks
I agree Issybird!
Asawi is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-08-2012, 05:43 PM   #13
fantasyfan
Guru
fantasyfan ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.fantasyfan ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.fantasyfan ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.fantasyfan ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.fantasyfan ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.fantasyfan ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.fantasyfan ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.fantasyfan ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.fantasyfan ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.fantasyfan ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.fantasyfan ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.
 
fantasyfan's Avatar
 
Posts: 831
Karma: 8241096
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: Ireland
Device: Kindle Paperwhite 2G Wi-Fi only, iPad, iPod Touch 3G, iPad Air
This is the first time I've read this novel. I watched the film as well {also for the first time}. In general I found the film to be a fairly faithful adaptation. But the novel gave a far more in-depth treatment of the concept of "dignity" which is a corner stone of Stevens' ethic. Further, the father, William Stevens, is presented far more impressively and with considerable drama in the book.

I found it quite hard to sympathise with Stevens. He uses "dignity" as a means of self-immolation until he has no identity at allーhe is simply a social function rather than a personーone who subverts his own humanity to achieve a life which is no more than a social gesture. I would agree with Issybird that the father is part of the problem.

In the book the father confesses that he may have failed Stevens. I feel that this failure must have been on the level of love. The film {though not the book} movingly dramatised the last words of the father who confessed to his son that his marriage was unhappy because his wife betrayed him. Here, is a significant point. Did the elder Stevens lose his wife's love because he had immersed himself in achieving the dignity of a butler? The book certainly makes the elder Stevens' identification with this persona very clear. Perhaps the father was incapable of showing human affectionーso his wife looked elsewhere.

Then we turn to the son. He cannot respond to the love of Miss Kenton because in his own upbringing he had never seen that kind of emotional relationshipーperhaps even between his own parents. What he saw was a father who was the model butler. Success to Stevens became identified with perfection in playing that role. Love and sexuality became not simply distractionsーthey became obstacles, dangers to be avoided and repressed.

There is another way we can see why Stevens is what he is.

When we see the limitations of Lord Darlington, it would seem that the idea of unthinking service to the 'gentleman" becomes ludicrous. Oddly, I don't think that was such an idea was necessarily all that far-fetched in the time the book's events unfold. Brian Cleeve in his interesting book 1938: A World Vanishing {pub 1982, Buchan & Enright, London} describes how the ultimate paragon in Britain was the "Gentleman" or "Lady" ーan educated member of the upper class who embodied all the ideals and values that made Britain great. Cleeve goes on to attack the lunacy of this attitude but he points out that it was nonetheless an accepted position:

"The realities of 1938 for a vast number of the inhabitants of Britain and Ireland were gruesome in the extreme. Sickness, poverty, hunger, squalor. The fact that in spite of those things people were more submissive to authority than they are today; more willing to sacrifice their lives in war; more willing to believe in moral certainties; more willing to believe that their leaders knew what they were doing; that is not a condemnation of the present and a praise of the past. It is simply a fact."

So Stevens can be seen as one who is making a life statement {however deluded} that epitomizes the values in the world he knew and that most others of that era accepted as being valid. The concept of "dignity" was the nearest approach he could make to being a "gentleman".

I'm going to have to think about it.

BTW Issybird, the idea that Remains . . . is a kind of allegory about Japan is a fascinating way of looking at the book!

Last edited by fantasyfan; 03-11-2012 at 01:17 PM.
fantasyfan is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-11-2012, 06:14 PM   #14
issybird
o saeclum infacetum
issybird ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.issybird ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.issybird ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.issybird ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.issybird ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.issybird ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.issybird ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.issybird ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.issybird ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.issybird ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.issybird ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.
 
issybird's Avatar
 
Posts: 2,934
Karma: 37194376
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: New England
Device: 950, 350s, N7, &...
Quote:
Originally Posted by fantasyfan View Post
The concept of "dignity" was the nearest approach he could make to being a "gentleman".
Entirely agree on this. It's suggested that William Stevens's upbringing was lower class and that becoming a butler was a leap for him. As our Stevens was born to it, so to speak, he had to mythologize being a butler; he couldn't have the same sense of satisfaction as his father in achieving such status. But we also see that the price of William's ascent was the sacrifice of all human connections and emotions, to the extent that he felt compelled to die at his post because he had nothing else.

By the way, did anyone else think that William was not nearly as tall as Stevens claimed? He was undoubtedly towering in Stevens mind, but it would have been extremely unusual for someone of working class origin at that time to have topped six feet. In order to meet troop requirements, the British Army had to reduce the minimum height requirement during the first world war to five feet.

The concept of dignity also ties into the concept of Japanese responsibility after WWII. There was a (faulty, although interesting) differentiation made between German and Japanese views of their respective roles. It was said that the Germans had a guilt culture, which acknowledged wrongdoing and which needed expiation, whereas the Japanese had a shame culture in which one didn't admit having done wrong, hence silence on specific causes and actions. It seem to me that dignity is the paradigm for the public mien in a shame culture, another example of Stevens as a prototype for the postwar Japanese.
issybird is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-17-2012, 10:35 AM   #15
paola
Wizard
paola ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.paola ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.paola ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.paola ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.paola ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.paola ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.paola ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.paola ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.paola ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.paola ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.paola ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.
 
paola's Avatar
 
Posts: 2,778
Karma: 5324790
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: UK
Device: Pocketbook Pro 903, (beloved Pocketbook 360 RIP), Kobo Mini, Kobo Aura
I really loved this book, and it got me laughing from the first page - that very subtle British humour that I find very appealing: though of course, it gets more and more depressing as you go on, but I really enjoyed the way it was written.

I did buy Steven's voice from the word go - I guess we need a Brit born and bread to confirm whether Stevens really looks the part, but I've heard that kind of talk many times from e.g. world war veterans (if Stevens is in his fifties when he travels, he must have been born around the beginning of the last century), often working class guys in complete acceptance of the unmovability of their station in life: shocking to me, though I think "class issues" are still alive and kicking today.

And the excessive formalism even between husband and wife is something I have witnessed myself ("O thank you so much for bringing this chair" - I'd have strangled the guy had he been my husband).

I also think there is some play with the story which is not told: how could such a passsionate and arguably likeable Miss Kenton fall for soembody like Mr. Stevens, if he was as cold as the charater he is portraying of himself? I think we do have some traces of this better part of himself: he is crying while serving port after his father's stroke:
Quote:
‘As you so rightly pointed out, I really should come back here in the spring. Darlington Hall must be rather lovely then. The last time I was here, I think it was winter then too. I say, Stevens, are you sure you’re all right there?’
‘Perfectly all right, thank you, sir.’
‘Not feeling unwell, are you?’
‘Not at all, sir. Please excuse me.’
I proceeded to serve port to some other of the guests. There was a loud burst of laughter behind me and I heard the Belgian clergyman exclaim: ‘That is really heretical! Positively heretical!’ then laugh loudly himself. I felt something touch my elbow and turned to find Lord Darlington.
‘Stevens, are you all right?’
‘Yes, sir. Perfectly.’
‘You look as though you’re crying.’
I laughed and taking out a handkerchief, quickly wiped my face. ‘I’m very sorry, sir. The strains of a hard day.’
‘Yes, it’s been hard work.’
and angry after she says she is leaving

Quote:
‘Mr Stevens, do I understand that you are wishing me to remain on duty this evening?’
‘Not at all, Miss Kenton. As you pointed out, you did notify me some time ago.’
‘But I can see you are very unhappy about my going out tonight.’
‘On the contrary, Miss Kenton.’
‘Do you imagine that by creating so much commotion in the kitchen and by stamping back and forth like this outside my parlour you will get me to change my mind?’
- and he is upset when he sees Ms Kenton pensive and distracted, he is offended by this to the point of childishly killing off the cocoa evenings, and being cruel to Miss Kenton in return.

But for whatever reasons, Mr. Stevens is a "small" man, uncapable of really breaking the mold, and this is soemwhat what saves him, in the sense that he finds a new goal in life, investing in improving his bantering skills: again, to better serve somebody else, in this twisted notion of dignity:

Quote:
Originally Posted by fantasyfan
He uses "dignity" as a means of self-immolation until he has no identity at allーhe is simply a social function rather than a personーone who subverts his own humanity to achieve a life which is no more than a social gesture.
I also liked how, as the journey progressed, we get more and more glimpses into class and education issues (the episode after the breakdown).

The more I think about it, the more I feel this is a sad book: things are never going to change (e.g. the disillusionement of the doctor, the contentedness with the best landscape in the world, no need to go to any fancy places, this is it).

Quote:
Originally Posted by fantasyfan
When we see the limitations of Lord Darlington, it would seem that the idea of unthinking service to the 'gentleman" becomes ludicrous. Oddly, I don't think that was such an idea was necessarily all that far-fetched in the time the book's events unfold. Brian Cleeve in his interesting book 1938: A World Vanishing {pub 1982, Buchan & Enright, London}
Sounds very interesting, thank you for the reference.

Quote:
Originally Posted by issybird
But perhaps the thinness of the story doesn't matter. I realized that it's meant to be a fable about Japanese responsibility for the Second World War. Stevens represents the Japanese people, who devoted themselves to living life with grace and never questioned nor criticized the actions of their god-emperor. The emperor parallels with Darlington, especially as he's seen to be someone with good intentions who was manipulated to evil purpose. While MacArthur undeified Hirohito, in the interest of social stability he placed the responsibility for the war on the war overlords, Hirohito more hapless than evil. So it was with Darlington.
Priceless thought!
paola is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Forum Jump

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Earliest Americans Remains: Ice Age Child Found in Prehistoric Alaskan Home kennyc Lounge 9 02-26-2011 10:01 AM
Main window remains minimized kleinbiker Calibre 3 07-11-2010 01:55 PM
After renaming folder in pictures old name remains? jum Amazon Kindle 0 12-19-2009 05:59 PM
All that Remains poshm Writers' Corner 1 11-18-2009 03:51 AM
PVI remains bullish on electronic paper Alexander Turcic News 0 07-31-2008 06:21 AM


All times are GMT -4. The time now is 06:04 AM.


MobileRead.com is a privately owned, operated and funded community.