Welcome to the LitCharts study guide on Kazuo Ishiguro's The Remains of the Day. Created by the original team behind SparkNotes, LitCharts are the world's best literature guides.
The Remains of the Day: Introduction
The Remains of the Day: Plot Summary
The Remains of the Day: Detailed Summary & Analysis
The Remains of the Day: Themes
The Remains of the Day: Quotes
The Remains of the Day: Characters
The Remains of the Day: Symbols
The Remains of the Day: Theme Wheel
Brief Biography of Kazuo Ishiguro
Historical Context of The Remains of the Day
Other Books Related to The Remains of the Day
- Full Title: The Remains of the Day
- When Written: 1986-1989
- Where Written: London, England
- When Published: 1989
- Literary Period: Contemporary
- Genre: Novel
- Antagonist: There is no clear-cut antagonist in The Remains of the Day. Stevens struggles against his own self-censorship, which can, in some ways, be seen as an antagonist to him. The novel also implicitly critiques the rigid, hierarchical aristocratic society of prewar England, a society that created Stevens and that leaves him at a loss to handle any other way of life.
- Point of View: The novel is told in the first person, with Stevens reflecting (in what seems to be the form of a diary) both on the day’s events during his travels and on events from several decades in the past. While the first person might seem to grant unlimited access into Stevens’s mind, the novel uses this point of view to thematize the limits of memory and the limitations of one’s own perspective and self-knowledge.
Extra Credit for The Remains of the Day
Jazzing it up In addition to his literary output, Ishiguro has also composed song lyrics for the jazz singer Stacey Kent; their CD was a best-selling album in France.
On remainder When Ishiguro was at a writers’ festival in Australia, attempting to think up the title of his next novel, his friend threw out the psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud’s concept of Tagesreste, “the day’s debris.” The friend translated it as “remains of the day,” giving Ishiguro his title.