James Stevens Equality

1619 Words7 Pages
The struggle between different social classes and the move toward equality is what has marked the history of the world, especially over the past few hundred years. Karl Marx’s philosophy was that history is the narrative of class struggle during which the poor seek to overthrow the nobility. Class distinction is very prevalent in The Remains of the Day. The novel is about the lives of the serving class in relation to those whom they serve. In The Remains of the Day, James Stevens identity is consumed by his profession, resulting in him losing the chance to lead a normal life in which he could find contentment in himself and his relationships rather than his work.
The needs of those who live in and visit Darlington Hall are taken care of by
…show more content…
All the things that he values are tied to his profession. He values the quality of the work that he does and takes pride in accomplishing the tasks of his profession with a high degree of effectiveness. This is shown in the episode where he kept on working after his father’s death, refusing to go up and see him, initially. The fact that he didn’t allow personal affairs to get in the way of his work is a point of great pride for him and he counts that night as one of the triumphs of his career as a butler. This shows that he has been so conditioned to put his occupation above everything, how it has become his life and identity, and that his sense of identity is tied to his work. One of the pursuits of Stevens’ life is to show dignity. In his opinion, it is the quality that all butlers must show in order to be great. This is what motivates him to devote his life to being a butler. Stevens spends several pages musing on the criteria that should be met in order for a butler to be considered great, and this shows how his thinking is bent toward this. The dignity that he shows in various instances of his career are points of pride for him and define who he is as a person. He reflects that, “I should cease looking back so much…I should adopt a more positive outlook and try to make the best of what remains of my day” (244). Stevens questions the meaning of his life, as it had always been defined by his professional role as a servant. He comes to the realization that the way in which he found value in only his work is shallow, and he resolves to change his mind-set so that he will find contentedness not only in his profession, but in his relationships with other
Get Access