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A Study Of The Remembering Narration In Kazuo Ishiguro's The Remains Of The Day

Posted on:2019-10-28Degree:MasterType:Thesis
Country:ChinaCandidate:R WangFull Text:PDF
GTID:2415330572967168Subject:English Language and Literature
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Kazuo Ishiguro is among the most popular contemporary writers in England.He won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2017.The Remains of the Day is his third novel,which won the Booker Prize in 1989.In the form of memory,the novel recounts the protagonist's six-day journey to the west of England and his thirty years of career as a butler.Combining theories of cognitive psychology and narratology,the present thesis studies the narration strategies in the novel from the perspective of unreliable narration,fragmented narration and selective narration.The first chapter discusses the unreliable narration.As a form of narration and also a way to construct the novel,the remembering narration creatively reconstructs the protagonist's past instead of faithfully reporting it.The protagonist's unreliable narration suggests its distortion of historical facts and contradicts the novel's norms.With the help of the unreliability,the protagonist Stevens tries to deceive himself,intending to rebuild his image of a reliable butler and reinstate the value of his career.The second chapter concerns the fragmented narration.According to cognitive psychology,the memories stored in human mind are a series of fragments which can be temporally distorted under the control of the consciousness.The Remains of the Day employs remembering narration to restore,organise and retrieve these memory fragments.Stevens's recount of his six-day journey is cut into pieces by these fragments which take leaps from one point in time to another.Even though Stevens tries hard to conceal his love for Miss Kenton and his sense of guilt towards his father,the memory fragments concerning these two characters keep occurring during the remembering narration.This fragmented narration betrays Stevens's hidden emotional world and the heavily emotion-charged events Stevens does not want to face.The third chapter studies the selective remembering narration.Instead of going through an unconscious process of restoring and retrieving past events,the protagonist selects the memories that benefit him and omits the painful memories.In the case of Stevens,he subconsciously selects some details concerning Miss Kenton to remember while forgetting others.This selective remembering narration indicates Stevens's hidden love for Miss Kenton.Meanwhile,the selective forgetting about the Suez crisis reflects Stevens,s reluctance to admit the decline of the British empire.The selective narration in the novel also reflects Stevens's struggle between self-deception and self-knowledge.Although this struggle takes root in the burden of the butler's wasted life,it still helps the protagonist face the truth of his life.The present thesis holds that the remembering narration in The Remains of the Day is unreliable,fragmented and selective.These features do not only help structure the plot of the novel,but also reveals Stevens's sense of loss,sense of guilt,and his repressed emotional world which he deliberately conceals.Through the remembering narration,the protagonist goes through a process from self-deception to self-knowledge.In the end of his journey,Stevens frankly admits the mistakes he has made in the past and finally gets up the courage to face the life ahead.
Keywords/Search Tags:The Remains of the Day, remembering narration, unreliable narration, fragmented narration, selective narration
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