THE REMAINS OF THE DAY. The Remains of the Day (1989) is the Japanese-English author Kazuo Ishiguro's third published novel. One of the most highly-regarded post-war British novels.
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"Remains of the day" may be interpretated as the German "Rückstände des Tages," a Freudian term generally translated as "day's residues." These are experiences of the day before the night of a dream. Freud discovered these are always present in dream formation. They are used as symbolic representations and disguises for forbidden wishes.
The Remains of the Day tells the story of Stevens, an English butler who has dedicated his life to the loyal service of one Lord Darlington
Working together during the years leading up to the Second World War, Stevens and Miss Kenton fail to admit their true feelings towards each other. All of their recollected conversations show a professional friendship which at times came close to crossing the line into romance, but never dared to do so.
Stevens muses over lost opportunities, both with Miss Kenton and with his long-time employer, Lord Darlington. At the end of the novel, Stevens instead focuses on the "remains of [his] day", referring to his future service with Mr Farraday.
The most important aspect of Stevens's life is his dignity as an English butler. Such aspects of refined dignity, especially when applied under stressful situations, are, to Stevens, what define a "great butler". As such, Stevens constantly maintains an inward and outward sense of dignity in order to preserve his own identity.