“Remains of the day” and “A room with a view”
“Remains of the day” and “A room with a view”

“Remains of the day” and “A room with a view”

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  • Pages: 4 (1969 words)
  • Published: October 28, 2017
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The first major difference you notice when examining the structure of the two novels is the way they are set out and built upon.

Remains of the day is a travel diary, it is an account of a wasted life and a story about missed chances. It is centred around a motoring trip that the butler of Darlington Hall, Stevens takes. This is both a metaphorical and literal journey for Stevens, the further away he gets from Darlington Hall the more he realises about himself and Lord Darlington. The novel is divided into 8 sections each covering the different stages of the journey through which we discover the truth about Stevens’ previous employer and we unfold a ‘new’ Mr Stevens.

The sole narrative voice in Remains of the day is that of the butler, Stevens, he talks about himself and his life with the reader. As he is the narrator we have no reason to doubt his word either bout Miss Kempton or Lord Darlington. However, the further we get into the novel Stevens proves to be an unreliable source as he is dependent on his memory, a memory that conveniently forgets things.

“. . .An embarrassing situation, one which Lord Darlington would never have placed an employee”

Mr Farraday is joking about Stevens’ intentions towards Miss Kempton as being anything other than professional. When Stevens tells us that Lord Darlington would never have placed him in embarrassing situations he is forgetting or perhaps simply not admitting to us and himself that he was in fact placed in far more embarrassing si


tuations by Lord Darlington. The majority of this novel is told through Stevens’ flashbacks to how life used to be and a lot of the story is told in the past tense. It is rare that we hear the voice of Ishiguro although he has crafted Steven’s’ narrative, he is generally unobtrusive in the narration except maybe in moments of humour, like Stevens’ attempt to explain the facts of life to Reginald Cardinal

“All living things will be relevant to our forthcoming discussion sir”

Stevens was trying to explain the birds and the bees to a man soon to be married. He takes it all very serious and has no sense of humour; he sees nothing funny in moments like these, which may reveal Ishiguro poking fun at his creation.

A room with a view is a true love story, whist also tackling issues of class, wealth, travel, and social acceptance. The novel is split into two halves. The first is set in Italy where Miss Bartlett and Lucy are on holidays, although Lucy is still surrounded by English authority she has a certain amount of freedom, this is when Lucy and George first meet and where thy share their first kiss. The second section is set back in England, Lucy once again is surrounded by the stiff upper lip society and restricted by English standards. However, this is eventually where George and Lucy’s love flourishes. There is no central source of narration, rather the story is developed though the characters. Forster’s views are present a lot more in this novels than Ishiguros are in Remain

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of the day. He suttely includes his own views:

“Passion should believe itself irresistible. It should forget civility and consideration and all other curses of refined nature”

He is saying that passion should railroad over social convention – This is exactly how George sees the world and life, he believes you have to live for the moment. Another example of Forsters views is when he includes the sentence:

“. . . Like most young people, he was naturally attracted by the idea of equality”

He sees everyone as they are and not for their class or social status, he shares his feelings with Lucy.

The way in which authors introduce and invent characters for their novels is an individual talent. In Remains of the day Ishiguro presents us with Mr Stevens, he is the voice of Darlington Hall and all it stands for; he takes his identity and personality from his status as a good butler not as a good person. He has dedicated his entire life to serving an unworthy “gentleman”. He is introduced to us firstly by his reflection in how his journey began, he tells the reader:

“It seems increasingly likely that I really will undertake the expedition that has been preoccupying my imagination now for some days”

Ishiguro is introducing Stevens as the sole narrator. From his first speech we can pick up on his formal language and his strong connection with the past, he is shown to be careful and precise in his choice of words, this may make him come across as pompous. We are introduced to each character through Stevens’ memories. We learn of Miss Kemptons strong will and determination through Stevens’ reflection on her. He receives a letter from Miss Kempton telling him about her life, and typical of Stevens, he reads more into it than was actually meant. He interprets the letter, as her wanting to return to Darlington Hall, but later finds out this wasn’t the case at all. On one occasion Stevens remembers her reaction when he told her that under Lord Darlington’s orders two maids were to be dismissed because they were Jewish, Miss Kempton says:

“I am warning you Mr Stevens I will not continue to work in such a house . . . if my girls are dismissed I will leave also”

She is emotional without being excessively sentimental. She shows her feelings on the matter and so has an identity and purpose other than work. There are indications right through the book that she has feelings for Mr Stevens, she is blind to the fact that Stevens is driven by the desire to be a perfect butler. Miss Kempton also has a immature almost childish side to her personality, like when she is courting Mr Benn with the hope to make Stevens jealous. When he sees it as a professional loss she allows her sorrow and fury to get the better of her and leaves Darlington Hall to get married to Mr Benn. Even at the end of the novel she still has feelings for Stevens

“I get thinking about a life I might have had with you Mr Stevens”

It shows the depth of her

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