Friday, April 5, 2013

The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro

Many books have the message of a person needing to take a journey, literally or figuratively, in order to do some type of self-discovery.

I have been discussing The Odyssey with my students. We read that The Odyssey, which was written around 1200 B.C, is considered to be the original story of a person who takes a journey in order to find himself. It is believed that many stories are patterned after The Odyssey: The Wizard of Oz, Moby Dick, The Hobbit, Star Wars, Song of Solomon, The Awakening and so on.  

Well, The Remains of the Day is about an English butler, Steven, who is offered the opportunity, by his boss, to take a journey.

Steven decides to take a road journey to go and visit Miss Kenton, the former housekeeper of the house where he currently works. Steven received a letter from Miss Kenton, and from the letter, he believes that she is in an unhappy marriage, and he decides to go and visit her and offer her the opportunity to return to her former employer.

On his journey, Steven reflects on his life and comes to the realization that he never really pursued anything that he wanted; he always did what was considered "the right thing to do" for a boss whom he thought was a honorable man.

He realizes that his boss was not the honorable man that he thought that he was, Steven stated that his boss "chose a path in life, it proved to be a misguided one, but there, he chose it, he can say that at least. As for myself, I cannot even claim that....I can not even say that I made my own mistakes. Really - one has to ask oneself -what dignity is there in that?" (P172)

However, by the end of the book, I got the feeling that Steven would return home a different man with the realization that the rest of his life could be the best of his life; "The evening's the best part of the day." (P.173)

People, sometimes we must take a journey, and sometimes we must take it alone. The journey or the alone time may not be something that we desire, but for whatever reason, it is sometimes forced upon us and that is where true growth can take place.

I have learned to relax into my journey and trust my creator...

Let's not get to the end of our lives and realize that we have not lived!

This is an awesome book that is well-written, and it gives its readers a lot to think about..

Seize the Day!!!!

Gifted writer Kazuo Ishiguro

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