Monday, March 04, 2024

“Some sort of witty retort”: Mr. Stevens and possible autism in Kazuo Ishiguro’s “The Remains of the Day” (1989)

In Kazuo Ishiguro's "The Remains of the Day" (1989), the English butler Mr. Stevens repeatedly worries about the problem of "bantering" with Mr. Farraday, the new American owner of Darlington Hall after it has left the Darlington family. But on his trip to the West Country to meet Miss Kenton, the Hall's former housekeeper, he also worries about how to converse with the locals at an inn where he is staying: "[S]ome sort of witty retort was required of me." I've read the novel many times already, but only now have I noticed that Stevens's uncertainty about wit and "bantering" could be a sign that he is on the autism spectrum. (Andrew Shields, #111Words, 4 March 2024) 

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