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Kazuo Ishiguro and Charles Dickens

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Ishiguro’s main protagonist, Stevens, in The Remains Of the Day speaks in the first person narrative because he wants to present directly the thoughts and stream of consciousness effectively to the readers. Stevens talks to himself a lot. It is his method of rationalizing what is happening around him. The reader gets under the skin of Stevens and feels what he goes through. We feel empathy for Stevens as he displays signs of being colonized. He lives his life as a butler and assumes his professional identity even in his private realm. He has lost his personal self. We read about Stevens and realise how obsessed he is with his job. In his ardour to crave acceptance and assimilation into the richer class that is far beyond his means, he convinces himself that he is totally at ease with them, albeit in the role of a man servant. Indeed, when Stevens was mistaken for his master by newcomers, he doesn’t correct them but talks as if he is indeed the lord. Stevens tried to convince himself that he is worthy because of his need to justify his low social status. The futility of Steven’s wasted life comes as a blow to the readers as we read how he spends his days in dreaming of grandiose. In other words, Stevens could not de-colonise himself….
Country area where Miss Kenton resides. He fails to confess
his true desires and betrays himself ultimately. The
remains of his older days were destined to go down the
drain as well. Steven does not come to realisation of his
self knowledge and his manhood remains oppressed.
Steven’s narrative reveals that his earlier life was
spent as a loyal blind follower of a unworthy boss. Using
the first person narrative, Ishiguro was able to show how
naive Stevens was. He manages to poke fun at Stevens even
in this tragic farce of a black comedy novel.
Did Steven know what was really happening to him Did
he feel anything that was truly his own and not as a paid
manservant Perhaps he did but he wasn’t strong enough to
break away. Stevens failed in acquiring self knowledge and
actualization of his latent potential.
Charles Dicken’s Great Expectations has Pip as the
narrator who is a hypocrite. He abhors Magwitch because he
symbolises poverty and what he himself represents. He lived
his life of deceit and bourgeois pretentiousness until
Magwitch came to visit him. Here comes the difference
between Ishiguru’s Stevens and Dicken’s Pip. Pip comes to
self knowledge of how he has been misled and deceived by
Miss Havisham. Pip becomes a gentleman when he risks his
life to save Magwitch. He comes to self actualisation.
Pip wanted to get an education because he wanted to
make himself worthy of pursuing Estella. He left his roots
in search of betterment. Stevens left his secret love
behind because of the ill conceived belief that there is
more glory in self denial and sacrifice working for a so
called icon of society, Lord Darlington. Both protagonists
are obsessed