Narrator and Narratee in The Remains of the Day
Randall Bass Ph. D. '91 (English)
How does the style and character of the Ishiguro's narrator control the reader's experience of the novel? To use the termnology of Gerard Genette, Stevens is an intradiegetic narrator. An intradiegetic narrator is a narrating speaker who is both outside and inside the events being narrated. When a novel has such a narrator, it is important to consider what meaning and affects are produced from the relationship between the "two" characters. In Ishiguro's novel, what is the relationship between the narrating Stevens (the Stevens of 1956) and the narrated Stevens (the Stevens of the past events)? How does the process of concealment and revelation of knowledge in the novel function within the space between the two Stevens's?
Any first person narration also possesses what is called the narratee--the imaginary subject to whom the narration is directed. How is the narratee constructed in the text? What is the relationship between the narratee and the reader? Does the intimacy with which the reader is given information about Stevens force a certain complicity with Stevens' own acts of self-deception and self-denial?