Themes of remains of the day

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  • Themes of remains of the day
    • Banter
      • Central and undying theme
      • introduced in the prologue
      • Stevens starts  practising banter on the new people he meets
        • Locals in the coach and horses inn, but is unsuccessful
      • End of the novel
        • met the retired who strikes up a conversation with him and tells him to enjoy his own age
        • Stevens listens to the people around him chatting with a positive frame of mind
          • Realises banter is 'the key to human warmth'
        • realises that he has truly wasted his life
          • sees the value of bantering
    • Butlers and dignity
      • Stevens is preoccupied with the notion of dignity
        • cites his own father as an example of a perfect butler
          • 'dignity in keeping one's position'
        • Key trope to this theme;
          • the tiger under the table
      • becomes obsessed with being a perfect butler
        • Reaction to the coldness of his father
        • channelled all his emotions into being the perfect butler
          • gives him a purpose
          • escapism from misery of his unloving father
          • uses his duty to hide his emotions
            • focuses on serving port while his father is dying
          • discusses Giffens silver polish in detail and focuses on it to the exclusion of real life and real events
    • Englishness and Americans
      • 'Being English'
        • English countryside reflects the English people
          • has calmness, and sense of restraint
        • 'Butlers only truly exist in England'
      • American
        • Mr Lewis
          • Characterised as being brash, confident and unafraid
          • ruthless to get his own way
      • Mr Farraday
        • Stevens attitude changes towards him by end of novel
        • resolving in banter with him in future
    • Humour and Steven's 'Laugh'
      • Ishiguro punctures the quiet tragedy of the novel with moments of supreme humour
        • Never sees anything funny, has to concentrate on being perfect
        • Humour is to gently mock and add poignancy to the tragic events as they unfold
      • Never remotely aware of his humour
      • Ishiguro pokes fun at his creation Stevens.
        • by satirising the way he takes himself so seriously
        • Ishiguro gently mocks the battle of wills between Miss Kenton and Stevens


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