Personal Identity

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In the novel The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro, Stevens’ change in personal identity parallels with the changes of England after decolonization. The comparison between Darlington Hall and England demonstrates how Stevens idealizes the empire of England and how he strives to serve those who perpetuate the strict class and imperial structures of England. Despite now being employed by the American Mr. Farraday, Stevens holds on to Darlington’s traditions and political views in order to show that he is nostalgic of the past and is unable to move forward in the new, modern English society. The comparison between Darlington Hall and England contributes to Stevens’ loss of English identity by emphasizing the changes in modern society after…show more content…
According to Stevens, all dignified butlers must embody the role of their job, unless they are alone. He explains, “A butler of any quality must be seen to inhabit his role, utterly and fully; he cannot be seen casting it aside one moment simply to don it again the next as though it were nothing more than a pantomime costume” (Ishiguro 169). For Stevens, the role of being a butler is not a costume or a performance. Stevens’ personal beliefs and values and his job as a butler overlap with one another in order to create his identity. This identity as a butler is significant because it emphasizes Stevens’ dedication to be constantly serving Lord Darlington. Similarly, as scholar Karen Scherzinger mentions, Stevens’ position of a butler contributes to his hierarchical uncertainty. She explains, “The commonplace term ‘a gentleman’s gentleman’ suggests that the butler is neither simply a servant, nor full-fledged member of the family he serves” (Scherzinger 98). Stevens is defined as a gentleman as long as he is defined in relation to Lord Darlington’s property and social standing. As the butler of the house, Stevens has control over all the other members of the staff. While Stevens fulfills a service role, he benefits from the upper-class due to his relationship with Lord Darlington. This unique class position is significant to the imperial power of England within the novel because it emphasizes how Stevens’ loyalty to Darlington provides him with a position of power and

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