Trivia Quiz for The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro (1989)
For West Seattle “Classic Novels (and Movies)” book club, 9/25/22
With answers below
A. The Journey
1. Duration and Motivation. Multiple reasons lie behind the trip undertaken by Stevens. Which one of the following is not cited as a reason by Stevens in his narration?
a. employer’s offer to pay for gas
b. visit to interview potential employee
c. no one to serve at Darlington Hall
d. potential romance
e. only 5-6 days
2. Landscapes of the Mind. Stevens reveals much of his psychology in reflections on the English countryside. Which one of the following is not from Ishiguro’s novel?
a. “I would say that it is the very lack of obvious drama or spectacle that sets the beauty of our land apart.”
b. There were “long stones that stood on end, balancing themselves in a queer, miraculous way.”
c. “What is pertinent is the calmness… its sense of restraint.”
d. “While speeding along between large open fields … or else steering carefully through marvelous little villages … I found myself yet again turning over certain recollections from the past.”
B. The Memories that Reveal the Self
3. Maxims. The Remains of the Day includes numerous judgments and lessons on life. Which one of the following is not spoken by Stevens?
a. “By the very nature of a witticism, one is given very little time to assess its various possible repercussions before one is called to give voice to it, and one gravely risks uttering all manner of unsuitable things if one has not first acquired the necessary skill and experience.”
b. “The sad fact is that long-continued, pleasant normality becomes a bore.”
c. “For our generation, professional prestige lay most significantly in the moral worth of one’s employer.”
d. “There is one situation and one situation only in which a butler … may feel free to unburden himself… when he is entirely alone.”
4. A lofty, yet limited vocabulary: a sign of moral rectitude or rote thinking? Certain key words recur in Stevens’s narration. Which one does not run through The Remains of the Day?
C. The Enigma of Other People
5. What one crucial moment captures the dynamic between Stevens and Miss Kenton?
a. The day she interviewed Winston Churchill in the library, contrary to the wishes of Stevens.
b. The morning they shared cocoa together in the quiet kitchen, while plotting a joke on the cook.
c. The night her aunt died, when he stood listening outside her room in the hall, but did not knock to offer condolences.
d. Their final decision to run away together to start a new life in South America!
6. Lord Darlington’s infamous career. As Stevens mulls over his past, the reader gleans increasingly unpleasant details of Lord D’s fall from favor. Which one of the following does not apply to Lord Darlington?
a. he used his home to conduct secret events that aided Hitler’s rise
b. he was a womanizer with several children he refused to acknowledge or help
c. he was a Nazi sympathizer
d. he forced Stevens to fire Jewish employees
7. Stevens, Sr.: the Archetypal Suffering Father? Readers of Balzac may see similarities between this father and Père Goriot. Which one of the traits does not appear in Ishiguro’s story?
a. a series of embarrassing humiliations
b. an anonymous burial in a pauper’s cemetery
c. a bare garret room
d. an absent wife
e. a deathbed scene with little emotion
f. a cerebral hemorrhage
g. stilted relations with family
8. Tragi-comic asides. Stevens is enlisted to undertake the sexual education of a young man, Mr. Cardinal, at one point. What one phrase does Lord D. not proffer, to request this service?
a. “You are familiar, I take it, with the facts of life.”
b. “Sir David has been attempting to tell his son the facts of life for the last five years.”
c. “Be sure to remind him about consent, and treating women with respect.”
d. “Sir David finds the task rather daunting.”
e. “I’m terribly busy.”
f. “Be an awful lot off my mind.”
g. “Just convey the basic facts and be done with it.”
9. A chance encounter with Harry Smith challenges Stevens’s view of dignity and citizenship. What one phrase does Harry Smith not say in support of his views?
a. “There’s no dignity to be had in being a slave.”
b. “We owe it to the lads.”
c. “The likes of you and I will never be in a position to comprehend the great affairs of today’s world.”
10. When Stevens is asked by a smalltown doctor, “You aren’t a manservant of some sort, are you?” his reaction is (choose one):
2. b. (That quote is from Daphne Dumaurier, Jamaica Inn.)
3. b. (That quote is from Sōseki Natsume, I Am a Cat.)
4. g. (“Love” is rarely mentioned in this work).
8. c. (That quote does not appear in Ishiguro’s novel; it was invented for the quiz.)
9. c. (Stevens voices that opinion, not Harry Smith.)