The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro: Contrasting the Upper and Lower Classes

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In The Remains of the Day, Kazuo Ishiguro places Mr. Stevens’ stay at the Taylors’ house directly after Lord Darlington’s abrupt dismissal of two Jewish staff members, and he uses different tones and the repetition of key phrases in the two incidents to contrast the generosity, respect, and hospitality of the lower class with the racism, cruelty, and emotional detachment of the upper class nobles. Ishiguro especially contrasts the way the two classes treat each other with the courtesy of the lower class and the apathy of the upper class. Ishiguro uses a generally cold and distant tone while Lord Darlington is speaking to Stevens about firing the Jewish housemaids; however, he uses a warm and friendly tone when the Taylors and the rest of …show more content…

He then follows by saying: “‘It’s for the good of this house, Stevens. In the interests of the guests we have staying here. I’ve looked into it carefully, Stevens, and I’m letting you know of my conclusion’” (146). He uses this statement to qualify the former; however, he still does not identify the housemaids or make any reference to them. Lord Darlington only worries about the “interests of the guests,” not the interests of the two employees he is firing. He is also extremely indifferent towards the feelings of the people, as he does what is “good for this house,” not what is good for the employees within it. Finally, Lord Darlington adds: “‘It’s regrettable, Stevens, but we have no choice. There’s the safety and well-being of my guests to consider. Let me assure you, I’ve looked into this matter and thought it through thoroughly. It’s in all our best interests’” (147). Somehow, Lord Darlington cares for “the safety and well-being of [his upper class] guests,” even though he is completely oblivious to the problems, needs, and “well-being” of his lower class employees. Lord Darlington repeatedly mentions the fact that he has done “a great deal of thinking,” “looked into it carefully,” and “looked into the matter and thought it through thoroughly.” However, his repetition of phrases concerning the amount of thought he has put into his decision to fire the two housemaids implies

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