Stevens: The Unreliable Narrator in Kazuo Ishiguro’s The Remains of The Day

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Kazuo Ishiguro, an eminent figure in contemporary literature, crafts narratives distinguished by their nuanced, restrained characters. One of his most profound works, The Remains of the Day (1989), offers readers a masterclass in the art of subtle storytelling. Central to this novel is the depiction of the protagonist, Butler Stevens, an embodiment of Ishiguro’s knack for blending subtlety with complexity. Stevens stands as a hallmark of Ishiguro’s imaginative prowess, serving as an intricate reflection of an era gone by. This character’s unyielding dedication to his profession, as reflected in the ideals of “Butler’s dignity,” not only encapsulates his identity but also becomes the lens through which he views the world. Yet, as the narrative unfolds, this seemingly unshakeable commitment is juxtaposed against Stevens’ personal introspection during a brief hiatus from his professional realm. This period of introspection proves revelatory, unearthing memories, regrets, and truths previously buried beneath the veneer of his professional demeanor. The novel expertly ‘compels’ its readers to discern the actuality behind the events depicted and, simultaneously, beckons them into the emotional depths of Stevens’ responses. As Stevens delves into the annals of his past, a realization dawns upon him: there are moments of folly, instances of misled loyalty, and actions driven by misconceptions. While he had dedicated his life to the grandeur of Darlington Hall, this commitment had come at the expense of personal fulfillment and genuine human connections. Towards the novel’s denouement, a poignant sense of regret permeates Stevens’ psyche. The culmination of this sentiment is his acknowledgment of certain truths and the unreliability of his own narration. This unreliable narration isn’t just a literary device but serves as a mirror to Stevens’ internal conflict, revealing the dichotomy between his perceived duties and suppressed emotions. Thus, The Remains of the Day is not just a tale of loyalty and duty but an exploration of the human soul, its vulnerabilities, and the intricate web of memories and emotions that define us.


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How to Cite
Deepa. “Stevens: The Unreliable Narrator in Kazuo Ishiguro’s The Remains of The Day”. The Creative Launcher, vol. 8, no. 2, Apr. 2023, pp. 139-44, doi:10.53032/tcl.2023.8.2.18.
Research Articles


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