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ParadoxalParadigm
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11 Dec 2010, 1:55 pm

I've taken this post down...



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jagatai
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11 Dec 2010, 2:17 pm

I think it's reasonable to interpret Stevens as someone with Aspergers, although I don't know that it helps to look only at that aspect. The character may or may not have Aspergers syndrome, but that is only tangental to understanding him. In discussing the book, Ishiguro said that he was interested in a character who hands his life over to someone else. By being a butler, he essentially gives up his life and his individuality to his employer. Although he questions his employer's political views, he doesn't think much beyond that. He doesn't assert his own right to an opinion.

Ishiguro's "Never Let Me Go" also explores a similar idea; that of people whose lives do not belong to themselves.

I think the film of "The Remains of the Day" is quite good, although it simplifies the story to mostly that dealing with Stevens' failure to be a direct participate in his own life and how he relates to the woman in the story. The adaptation of "Never Let Me Go" is less sucessful although it is a very close adaptation.

Ishiguro has become one of my favorite authors ("Never Let Me Go" is one of the few books I have read multiple times) and I think this is partly because many of his characters and stories deal with a way of perceiving the world that makes sense to someone with Aspergers syndrome.


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ParadoxalParadigm
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11 Dec 2010, 2:50 pm

Blahblahblah, post deleted blah.



Last edited by ParadoxalParadigm on 13 Dec 2010, 12:27 am, edited 3 times in total.

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11 Dec 2010, 3:06 pm

It's been a while since I read this book. I really love Ishiguro and have read several of his novels. But it's been several years.

You could interpret many of Ishiguro's characters as Aspie-ness, I suppose, but you'd be ignoring the author's intentions. Ishiguro wrote novels about rigid social class structure and how it stifles, oppresses and infringes up on the individual. Many of his novels focuses on Japanese class structure, which is very rigid. In The Remains of the Day, he transferred this theme to British class structure, in which he saw many parallels with Japanese culture. So it's not about an individual who is struggling with a neurological difference that results in certain social deficits, but an individual who, by the society into which he was born, has developed an inefficacy to be an individual, to experience himself as an individual. There is a big distinction in that.

Like I said in the tread about Dostoevsky's The Idiot , you can use such a character as an analogy for the Aspergerian experience if you wish, but it would be twisting the author's intention to make the character out as Aspegerian and to ignore what Ishiguro was trying to reveal about class. However, if you do try to use Stevens as analogy of Asperger's, but mindful of what you are saying. Asperger's is not a static condition. We can continue to develop, improve on those deficits. We have that liberty, even if not all fof us embrace it and utilize it. The situation Stevens was in, because of the rigidity of his class, was static. He was broken by class, and thus powerless. Asperger's doesn't void our ability to be self-determining, but the society in which Stevens was born did rob him of that liberty.

As an Aspergerian. I would be deeply, deeply offended at the suggestion I am broken and powerless like Stevens. I may be wounded by society's ignorance and intolerance, but I am not Stevens.