Kingwood College Library Assignment Guide for
The Remains of the Day
by Kazuo Ishiguro
Born 1954 -

Photo by Becky Bradley 6-1987

The Remains of the Day was selected by the New York Times Book Review as one of the best books of 1989 and won the prestigious Booker Prize in England.  In it, Ishiguro describes the relationship between a butler and the gentleman he served between WWI and WWII.  Stevens, the butler, narrates the book giving voice to his reflections on his life and the consequences of decisions he made as a younger man. 

The Times Literary Supplement described The Remains of the Day  as "strong as it is delicate,... finely nuanced and at times a humorous study of repression."   (Contemporary Authors v. 49 p.196)

Kingwood College Library resources for examining The Remains of the Day.


The Author
Ishiguro, born in Nagasaki, Japan in 1954, has been a resident of Great Britain since 1960.  He attended the University of Kent, receiving a B.A. with honors, and later attended the University of East Anglia, where he won an M.A. in creative writing.  His novels often deal with self-realization of an individual's life based on insight gained through self-examination.

Details of the novel

Time:            1956 with flashbacks to 1923 and the ensuing years

Setting:        Oxfordshire and the West country, England

Characters: Stevens, the narrator, a butler for Lord Darlington
                            Lord Darlington, Stevens' employer for more than three decades
                            Mr. Farraday, Stevens' current employer
                            Miss Kenton, a housekeeper once in love with Stevens

Themes:       Reflections on the past
                            Relationships between employers and employees in England of this time period
                            Choosing paths in life
                            Tragedy and comedy in ordinary lives
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BOOKS containing information on Kazuo Ishiguro and The Remains of the Day can be found by using the Kingwood College Library catalog.  Link to the catalog from the Library at:
Use the title or author's name as a subject keyword search to find books about the novel and the author.  Some of the
    Reference books which discuss The Remains of the Day are:

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DATABASESare useful to find journal articles which analyze literature as well as offer information about authors.  Some of the Kingwood College Library databases most useful for examining The Remains of the Day and Kazuo Ishiguro are listed below.  Click on the link to go into the database from computers on campus, or use the Home Access to Article Databases link here or from the Kingwood College Library web page.

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INTERNET sites can be helpful for research in literature.  Students should be aware that not all sites are  suitable academically for the type of research colleges require.  Look at the site and judge it for quality (is it well written?), validity (are facts and statements correct?), currency (is it up to date?), authority (who wrote or created the web page?), and general acceptability.   If you are in doubt, check with your instructor.  Some sites which may be helpful to your research are linked below.

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MLA citation style guide  for your works cited page.  Helpful examples of citations from many types of resources.

The Learning Center, formerly Academic Support Center. Check the hours of the Learning Center for help with your paper or in-house tutoring.  Remember, your instructor is the final authority on the content and form of your paper.

page created by Becky Bradley 2-19-02, updated 11/6/02 || contact || Return to Kingwood College Library