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Remains of the Day (Ishiguro) - Discussion Questions

Discussion Questions 
1. What does Stevens care most deeply about? Can you articulate a world view for him?

2. Consider the decisions Stevens makes during time of his father's death, as well as the dismissal of the two Jewish servants. Where do Stevens's ethical responsibilities lie — given his time in history and place in society?

3. Talk about is the social hierarchy to which Stevens is completely loyal—yet which exploits him thoroughly.

4. And, of course, poor Miss Kenton. Would she ever have been happy with Stevens? Or could she have humanized him had she persisted and won him over? Oh...and what about the fact that she never left when she was forced to dismiss the two Jewish maids? Is she as culpable as Stevens in this matter? What would most of us do in her place?

5. This novel is famous for its "unreliable narrator," meaning that Stevens who tells the story colors a great deal in his telling. He seems blind to much that goes on around him, events that we, the readers, see and judge differently than Stevens seems to. Give some examples of Steves's inability to see things as readers see them. What blinds Steven, or gets in his way of understanding, especially when it comes to Lord Darlington.

6. You might also tackle the ending. What happens to Stevens after he leaves Miss Kenton? What does he come to understand, what insights has he gained? Will he change—indeed, is he capable of change?

(Questions by LitLovers. Please feel free to use them, online or off, with attribution. Thanks.)

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