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Listen & Learn: The Remains of the Day

Posted by: Jaksyn Peacock
Learn about the award-winning 1988 novel
The Remains of the Day
From poster of the film of the book The Remains of the Day
  • butler: the head servant in a wealthy household, usually male
  • colleague: someone you work with
  • flashback: a scene in a story that takes place before the main events
  • reflect: to think about something deeply
  • late: no longer alive
  • sympathies: support for a certain group or cause
  • regret: a feeling of guilt or sadness about a past decision

Listening activity

Gapfill exercise

The Remains of the Day is a 1988 novel by Japanese-British author Kazuo Ishiguro. Its main is an English butler named Stevens. Stevens the story as he drives through the to visit his former colleague, Miss Kenton. The novel is told in flashbacks of Stevens’s as a butler in the 1920s and 1930s. Stevens reflects on his dedication to his job and his late employer, Lord Darlington, despite Darlington’s early Nazi sympathies. Stevens’s narration is very restrained and emotionless, but it is clear that he has many regrets. One of them is that he never told Miss Kenton about his for her. The Remains of the Day won the 1989 Booker Prize, and it was made into a film in 1993.

Comprehension questions

See answers below

  1. The flashbacks in The Remains of the Day show Stevens
    a. working as a butler for Lord Darlington
    b. driving across the country on vacation
    c. confessing his feelings to Miss Kenton
  2. The best word to describe Stevens’s attitude about his job is
    a. negligent
    b. dedicated
    c. unmotivated
  3. The award that The Remains of the Day won is
    a. the Booker Prize
    b. the Pulitzer Prize
    c. the Nobel Prize

Discussion/essay questions

  1. Regret is one of the most important themes of The Remains of the Day. Stevens misses a lot of important moments in his life because of his dedication to his job. Have you ever missed a good opportunity? Why? What would you do differently if you had another chance?

Transcript

The Remains of the Day is a 1988 novel by Japanese-British author Kazuo Ishiguro. Its main character is an English butler named Stevens. Stevens narrates the story as he drives through the countryside to visit his former colleague, Miss Kenton. The novel is told in flashbacks of Stevens’s career as a butler in the 1920s and 1930s. Stevens reflects on his dedication to his job and his late employer, Lord Darlington, despite Darlington’s early Nazi sympathies. Stevens’s narration is very restrained and emotionless, but it is clear that he has many regrets. One of them is that he never told Miss Kenton about his feelings for her. The Remains of the Day won the 1989 Booker Prize, and it was made into a film in 1993.

Answers to comprehension questions

1a 2b 3a

Written and recorded by Jaksyn Peacock for EnglishClub
© EnglishClub.com

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