The Remains of the Day - Wikipedia
The relationship between Stevens and Miss Kenton and what it reveals regarding the . Why, Mr Stevens, why, why, why do you always have to pretend?. I am convinced that Miss Kenton and Mr. Stevens actually shared some connection during these meetings (even though Mr. Stevens will undoubtedly have. Miss Kenton voices the emotions that Stevens keeps such an uber-tight lid on. Why, Mr. Stevens, why, why, why do you always have to pretend? delve into their relationship, we can't help wondering whether Stevens and Miss Kenton are .
Stevens will undoubtedly have remained very professional during them. Miss Kenton could probably see the man behind the butler in those instances, allowing her to fall in love with him. Stevens does not consider such social interaction between them to bear any significance or relevance, he does not tell us anything about it. Stevens is a reasonable accurate narrator when it comes to describing what words were being said during a conversation.
Miss Kenton and Steven's relationship Flashcards Preview
However, he is rather bad at conveying what emotions he himself showed during such conversations. There are a few instances in the novel where the people around Mr. Stevens explicitly comment on the emotional way in which he is behaving such as the tears in his eyes when his father died or the way he storms through the halls when he hears Miss Kenton is leavingwhile Mr.
Stevens himself does not mention a word of such emotions. This leads me to believe that his attitude towards Miss Kenton would often be a lot more positive than what we can construe from his words. As such, Stevens constantly maintains an inward and outward sense of dignity to preserve his identity.
He had dedicated himself wholly to Lord Darlington. These philosophies of dignity, however, greatly affect Stevens' life—largely with respect to social constraints, loyalty and politics, and love and relationships. In preserving his dignity at the expense of emotion, Stevens in a way loses his sense of humanity with respect to his personal self.
Stevens' primary struggle within the novel is how his dignity relates to his own experiences, as well as the role his dignity plays in the past, present, and future.
Stevens introduces it in the prologue as a problem which he considers his duty to solve in order to please Mr. Stevens takes this new duty very seriously. He ponders over it, practises in his room, and studies a radio programme called Twice a Week or More for its witticisms.
He practises banter with those he meets, such as the locals in the Coach and Horses inn near Taunton, but is unsuccessful. He agonises over this, yet fails to realise that it is his delivery that is lacking.
The true significance of banter becomes apparent at the end of the novel, when Stevens has met the retired butler who strikes up a conversation with him and tells him to enjoy his old age. Stevens then listens to the chatter of the people around him, in a positive frame of mind, and realises that banter is "the key to human warmth".
Social constraints[ edit ] The novel does not present Stevens' situation as simply a personal one. It seems clear that Stevens' position as butler, and servant, has gradually made it impossible for him to live a fulfilling emotional life. His father dies, and Stevens is too occupied with worrying about whether his services are being carried out correctly to mourn something that he later reflects on with great pride. Nor can Stevens bring himself to express feelings about personal matters, as to do so would compromise his dignity.
Social rules at the time were a major constraint. As the book reveals, servants who wished to marry and have children would have immediately found themselves without a job, as married life is seen as incompatible with service, which requires total devotion. A truly "great butler" does not abandon his profession, and, as such, Stevens feels that such choices are foolish in regard to the life of a butler. Loyalty and politics[ edit ] Stevens is shown as totally loyal to Lord Darlington, whose friendly approach towards Germany, through his friendship to Mrs.
Charles Barnet, also results in close contacts to right-wing extremist organisations, such as the Blackshirts of Sir Oswald Mosley.
Due to this, Lord Darlington also discharges two Jewish staff members, a decision he comes to regret. Being too busy with trying to achieve the status of an excellent butler, he tends to forget or even to ignore his own feelings. But the problem is, that he does not even realise it until the end of the novel, until the end of his journey to the west-country.
Miss Kenton criticises him because of his pitiless behaviour towards her, since he knew of her distress concerning the matter: You knew how upset I was when the girls were dismissed. Do you realize how much it would have helped me? Why, Mr Stevens, why, why, why do you always have to pretend? He is living the life of a man who has always been striving to reach the unobtainable: Feelings and rational decisions must fall by the wayside in the world of dignity and emotional restraint Stevens has erected around himself.
Miss Kenton has hit the nail on the head, for she has seen through his masquerade, but she does not get any answer from Stevens who simply has not realised yet what illusion he is living in. Some lines further in the text, when feeling the need of defending his former taciturnity in the matter of the dismissed maids, a simple switch of pronouns gives proof of his uneasiness of admitting his moral objections: With this, he distances himself from what he is saying, losing his credibility.
On the discourse level this means a clear hint at narrative unreliability.
Darlington Hall itself seems to confine Stevens to his role, as his change throughout his trip to Cornwall shows. A foreboding hint that the shared future lies emptily before them.
A further hint at Stevens' hidden emotions is given during one of the times he and Miss Kenton meet for cocoa in her parlour. This might seem to be an unusual behaviour on the butler's side, but, viewed in another light, it gets quite clear that Stevens comforts the housekeeper by reassuring that she had done her best, not personally, but professionally.
Anyway, he is able to comfort her here, but later on we will see, that he is incapable of giving any comfort in emotional matters - an aspect which perfectly fits into his scheme of himself. Some of Miss Kenton's statements are made directly, but there is a hidden meaning underneath. Thus, on another of their meetings off-duty, she views Stevens as an "well-contented man An honest, but trying remark.
So, after finishing the book, there is no — The Remains Q&A
This is how Stevens might appear to the people surrounding him, but Miss Kenton has somehow pierced his masquerade. The actual function of the question is to lure the butler out of his emotional restraint and make him admit that there is something lacking: But, predictably, Stevens does not get the message and comes up with his theory of a perfect and loyal butler who will just be contented, when his master is.
Small wonder, that it was "not so long afterwards that these meetings