Dignity Remains Of The Day Analysis

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Dignity, much like chivalry, is not a value that takes up much space in the modern world. However, much like misogyny, racism, and other forms of bigotry, it is ever present. This is not to say that dignity is a bad thing like those previously mentioned narrow minded ideals, but it is similarly outdated; It does not have a place in today’s society. In The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro, Stevens’ outdated viewpoint on dignity is updated and his outlook on his life is changed when he learns to broaden his mindset. Through reflection on the past, he is made aware of wrongdoing by himself and others, and through exploration in the present he is able to begin to right those.
Stevens’ idea of dignity stems largely from his core value of service,
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Kenton. Doctor Carlisle is at first someone Stevens sees as a potential equal, both being from higher statuses. However, Doctor Carlisle quickly causes Stevens to question many things. On page 208, he confesses that he thought Stevens was a fake until he realized he was a butler. This reflection by the Doctor points out both the obsolete nature of butlery, as well as how Stevens has been covering things up. Stevens is further surprised by the Doctor when he directly asks him, “‘What do you think dignity’s all about?”’ (Ishiguro 210). While Stevens gives a perhaps witty answer, the Doctor’s inquiry pushes Stevens closer to the point of change.
Miss Kenton is the one who truly leads Stevens to the point where he is ready to change. When he finally reunites with her, he realizes through their conversation that he has made several mistakes. He read her letters in a way that misconstrued their meaning, he believed that she was in a place which she was not, and through this he realizes that she has happiness and he perhaps does not (Ishiguro 236-7). His conversation with the other butler at the docks (Ishiguro 242-4) allows Stevens to finally be ready to change, and he redefines dignity in a way that is not in blind service of

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