What Is Misguided Idealism?

1379 Words 6 Pages
Stevens also allows his idealization of Darlington to dictate his political beliefs, specifically his views on democracy. While having dinner with the Taylors, Stevens and Mr. Harry Smith have a disagreement about the definition of dignity and how it corresponds with democracy. Smith embodies the new ideologies that are present within England because he believes that all citizens can strive for dignity. He explains, “It’s one of the privileges of being born English that no matter who you are, no matter if you’re rich or poor, you’re born free and you’re born so that you can express your opinion freely, and vote in your member of parliament or vote him out” (Ishiguro 186). Smith argues that all citizens of England are dignified because they …show more content…
According to Stevens, “Such great affairs will always be beyond the understanding of those such as you and I, and those of us who wish to make our mark must realize that we best do so by concentrating on what is within our realm … devoting our attention to providing the best possible service to those great gentlemen in whose hands the destiny of civilization truly lies” (Ishiguro 199). Instead of having his own political beliefs and not expressing them, Stevens believes that “ordinary people” should not concern themselves at all with these problems. By serving the gentlemen of England, civilization will be in perfect harmony and the lower classes will be taken care of. The gentlemen of society (the upper class, “the colonizers”) believe they are helping and serving the ordinary people (the lower class, “the colonized”). Stevens defense and acceptance of Darlington’s ideas perpetrates the ideal “Empire” of England by remaining loyal to the gentlemen that he serves instead of voicing his own opinion and …show more content…
When Mr. Farraday originally suggests Stevens go on a trip, Stevens claims, “Those of our profession, although we did not see a great deal of the country in the sense of touring the countryside and visiting picturesque sites, did actually ‘see’ more of England than most, placed as we were in houses [of] the greatest ladies and gentlemen” (Ishiguro 4). For Stevens, Darlington Hall represents England because it is all he knows. When Stevens is in Darlington Hall, he is surrounded by the other service staff and the gentlemen of society that he admires. He did not need to leave the house when Darlington was alive because he was constantly surrounded by the greatest of English tradition and society. However, the new English identity and traditions seem to creep into the house in the form of his new employer Mr. Farraday and the lack of service staff. As literary scholar Karen Scherzinger mentions, “The doorways at Darlington Hall come to signify thresholds, or portals, over and through which Stevens is reluctant to pass because they represent both the threat and promise of change to Stevens’ emotional rigidity and vaunted ‘professionalism’” (Scherzinger 98). Once the people within Darlington Hall start to change, Stevens’ English identity is threatened. Since his new employer is

Related Documents