The Remains Of The Day - Digni Essay

This essay has a total of 761 words and 5 pages.

The Remains Of The Day - Digni


The novel contains a recurring theme of dignity. This theme is stated and restated
throughout the novel. Define dignity and then consider the author's intention and conclude
with your own explanation of the quality of dignity.





Portfolio Essay: The Remains of the Day


Dignity, according to the Oxford Dictionary, is "a composed and serious manner/style, the
state of being worthy of honour or respect". In the novel, dignity is exoterically found
in the form of proper gentlemen, as well as butlers who allow nothing to distract or faze
them from doing their duty.


What about the everyday definition in the modern world. This dignity today is rarely
encountered other than in the higher levels of old fashioned society, politics and perhaps
serious business matters.


With all our upbringing, culture and modernisation, few have retained what was known as
the dignity of even a half century ago. No one has the time any more to nurture and
develop their dignity to a reasonable potential, as they find increasingly less and less
reason to do so, relying instead on pure wit, instinct and professional tact.


What I think is meant when one talks about dignity is the following. Take an imaginary
case. You are confronted with a difficult or abnormal situation, yet you can maintain the
same level of thinking and can attempt to deal with the situation. Or, you are forced to
respond to a matter, and there is the possibility of your letting it get out of hand, but
you control yourself and respond instead while focused and maintaining a civilised manner.
That is dignity.


As is evident throughout the novel, it is a quality inherent in all people. The author's
intention and a below the surface view become clear: during his car journey. Mr Stevens
becomes acutely aware of the dignity present in the people he meets, for example the
family who takes him in when he runs out of gas. These are hardly the upper crust folk,
yet their demeanour warms him and places them all on an even level. From there,
communication tends to become easier. Thanks to the dignity in these people, Mr Stevens
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