Event Title

“Dignity in keeping with his position”: The Interpellation of Stevens through the British Estate Apparatus in Kazuo Ishiguro’s The Remains of the Day

Faculty Mentor

Dr. Leslie Bickford

College

College of Arts and Sciences

Department

English

Location

DiGiorgio Campus Center, Room 220

Start Date

22-4-2016 3:00 PM

End Date

22-4-2016 3:15 PM

Description

Kazuo Ishiguro's The Remains of the Day has received a large amount of critical attention since its release in 1989. However, most of it has been very historically narrow, relegating it to Thatcherism in the 1980's or to the end of the British colonial empire around the same time. In my research, I look at the broader implications of Stevens's role as butler. Using several concepts originally defined by French Marxist philosopher Louis Althusser, "ideology," "ideological state apparatus," and "interpellation," I argue that Stevens is motivated to serve the racist Lord Darlington faithfully because he believes in an ideology of England's greatness, and subsequently, loses his individuality. Stevens almost realizes that he has lost his individuality by living his life as a footnote to Lord Darlington's.; however, he resolves the narrative by commenting on how he can better serve his new master. That moment of irony causes readers to consider how they themselves are similar to a butler. Average people have no say in the large affairs of society, and so, work for those that have power, in hopes that some good will be done through it. They must fulfill the duties of their roles to the best of their abilities, just like Stevens. My article is important to the scholarship of the novel because it shifts the discussion from specific moments in history to broader implications for people in the past, present, and future.

Previously Presented/Performed?

National Conference on Undergraduate Research (NCUR), Asheville, North Carolina, April 2016

Course Assignment

Approaches to Literature, ENGL 300, Dr. Leslie Bickford

This document is currently not available here.

Share

COinS
 
Apr 22nd, 3:00 PM Apr 22nd, 3:15 PM

“Dignity in keeping with his position”: The Interpellation of Stevens through the British Estate Apparatus in Kazuo Ishiguro’s The Remains of the Day

DiGiorgio Campus Center, Room 220

Kazuo Ishiguro's The Remains of the Day has received a large amount of critical attention since its release in 1989. However, most of it has been very historically narrow, relegating it to Thatcherism in the 1980's or to the end of the British colonial empire around the same time. In my research, I look at the broader implications of Stevens's role as butler. Using several concepts originally defined by French Marxist philosopher Louis Althusser, "ideology," "ideological state apparatus," and "interpellation," I argue that Stevens is motivated to serve the racist Lord Darlington faithfully because he believes in an ideology of England's greatness, and subsequently, loses his individuality. Stevens almost realizes that he has lost his individuality by living his life as a footnote to Lord Darlington's.; however, he resolves the narrative by commenting on how he can better serve his new master. That moment of irony causes readers to consider how they themselves are similar to a butler. Average people have no say in the large affairs of society, and so, work for those that have power, in hopes that some good will be done through it. They must fulfill the duties of their roles to the best of their abilities, just like Stevens. My article is important to the scholarship of the novel because it shifts the discussion from specific moments in history to broader implications for people in the past, present, and future.