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Captain Corelli’s Mandolin and The Remains of the Day

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Love is presented in many ways and is achieved through a variety of techniques used within both novels Captain Corelli’s Mandolin ad The Remains of the Day. The theme of love is apparent through out the novel and is presented through the relationships between parent and child, the conversations and the varying narrative perspectives. In Captain Corelli’s Mandolin and The Remains of the Day, symbolism is used to portray love in both novels. Firstly de Bernieres uses the Mandolin as a symbol to portray Corelli’s love for Pelagia.

In chapter 42, ‘how a woman is like a mandolin’ metaphorically speaks of women as a mandolin. Corelli tells the reader of his love for Antonia, he tells us that he “brushes her strings softly” this represents the extent of his love and shows that it is not solely directed towards his music. Instead he uses the idea of music and closely relates it to Pelagia. “Brushes her strings softly” suggests that he runs his fingers through Pelagia’s ‘soft’ hair. Also ‘brush softly’ suggests Corelli is soft himself, who has a tender loving side to him.

In addition Corelli continues to describe his desire for Pelagia by referring to Antonia once again “how can you be made of wood? ” Corelli questions Antonia as if it were real. It could be interpreted that Corelli’s love for Antonia symbolises his love for Pelagia. Therefore Corelli’s passion for his music can relate to his love for Pelagia. By Corelli playing the mandolin, it can be interpreted that he releases his sexual tension; he wants to love Pelagia , but cannot so ‘makes love’ to his mandolin. It is this that attracts Pelagia further to Corelli.

Still attending to the trilling of the mandolin” represents how she has engaged with Corelli’s music. “Still attending” suggests that although she has been awaken by this “beautiful noise” the fact that she attends to Corelli straight away portrays how she is now feeling more attracted to Corelli. It could be argued that her attraction towards Corelli’s music is a metaphor for how her feelings have changed and desires Corelli more. In effect the use of the mandolin allows Corelli to relieve his sexual tension which effectively brings Pelagia closer to his grasp.

Similarly Ishiguro attempts to portray love through the symbol of Stevens “motoring trip” . In ‘Day two- morning’ Stevens begins to explain who Miss Kenton is. The reader learns that she is now “Mrs Benn and has been for twenty years” strikes the question as to why Stevens still refers to her by her maiden name. Stevens continues to explain “referring to her as I know her… in my mind have continued to call her throughout the years” suggests that maybe Stevens still cannot accept that she is now married.

In addition Stevens is aware she been married for “over twenty years” further suggests his disregard in acceptance of her marriage. This strongly links to the theme of missed opportunity and love. In effect at this stage in the novel it becomes apparent that there was once a connection that occurred between the two, but now is gone. Stevens refers to Miss Kenton as an “intelligent woman” which further emphasises his affection as he compliments her. In effect although they have not seen each other in many years, for Stevens to still compliment her displays his affection.

The “motoring trip” stems from Miss Kenton’s letter which readily highlights the theme of love. Love is presented through the past between the two and leaves the reader in suspense to read further. Both novels use of symbolism reveals the characters feelings for their loved one. Ishiguro uses Stevens “motoring trip” to reveal the love between Stevens and Miss Kenton. Similarly de Bernieres uses the mandolin to symbolise Corelli’s love for Pelagia. The love between parent and child in both novels becomes apparent as both children aspire to become like their father.

In Captain Corelli’s mandolin a mutual and open relationship is present between Dr Iannis and Pelagia. They are both able to express their love for each other. It becomes clear that Pelagia aspires to be like her father when she is treating Mandras (chapter 21). “She had learned enough from her father over the years to become a doctor herself” displays Pelagia’s growth in interest towards her fathers profession. “Over the years” supports her desire to learn more about the profession. In effect it displays genuine interest which he has to become like her father.

This highlights the daughter’s aspiration which could also be seen as love for both her father and profession. In addition “learned enough” highlights the depth of interest Pelagia has taken in pursuing the same profession as Dr Iannis. Her aspiration to follow in Iannis’ footsteps could represent good upbringing and how she admires her fathers work. In addition the admiration extends when Dr Iannis states he is “prodigiously proud. ” This highlights the extent of Iannis’ happiness and love he feels for his daughter.

In effect this highlights that the two are able to openly express their feelings for one another and they are not bound by their occupation which stops them to do so. Through Pelagia’s aspiration, her love for her father is portrayed. In effect this aspiration allows the reader to see an apparent love from both Iannis and Pelagia. Therefore de Bernieres uses this to portray the love between both parent and child. The Remains of the Day however, contrasts with the idea of open expression but still portrays love between both parent and child in a reserved fashion.

Similarly in the Remains of the Day, Stevens too aspires to be a “great butler” like his father. This love between parent and child though, is not presented to the reader until the mid stage of the novel. Until this point as a reader, Ishiguro does not reveal much about Stevens love as a child for his father. In Captain Corelli’s Mandolin it becomes apparent that both Iannis and Pelagia are able to express their love for one another. However in the Remains of the Day Stevens admiration for his father’s work is more apparent, but genuine parent, child love is not unlike that in Captain Corelli’s mandolin.

As the Remains of the Day progresses, it could be argued that Stevens is forced to display his love for his father due to the predicament he is placed with. Whilst Stevens’ father lays ill in bed, he see’s this as an opportunity to finally reveal his feelings. Both father and son are able to engage in a conversation that displays genuine love for one another. “Glad father is feeling much better” portrays Stevens’ relief and delight over his fathers “temporary recovery. ” Although “glad” highlights his happiness, it could be argued that the diction used is mild which does not fully demonstrate his happiness.

From this it may reflect how his professional side conflicts with his personal and that it hinders his ability to display mutual love for his father. In addition this could further support the motif “professionalism” that is commonly associated with Stevens throughout the novel. By Stevens’ referral to his dad as “father” suggests his inability to fully open up and he is only able to speak correct English, which becomes apparent through out the novel. His use of correct English, ties in with his aspiration to become a “great butler” of “dignity. From this one can infer that Stevens pursuit to be like his father hinders his ability to show affection for him, which contrasts to the expression of love between parent and child in Captain Corelli’s Mandolin.

Furthermore Stevens’ aspiration becomes so strong that he withdraws any emotion towards his fathers “temporary recovery” which highlights the unease it brings to Stevens while he attempts to display love for his father. Similar to Dr Iannis, Mr Stevens states “I hope I’ve been a good father. ” It could be argued that this displays his concerns whether he has not. Hope” imposes a sense of doubt, which strikes the reader to question what could he have done to suggest otherwise than being a “good father. ” However it could also be argued that by Mr Stevens asking this, he wishes to gain peace of mind. In addition regardless of his success as a “great butler” as Stevens perceives, he also wishes to be a “good father. ” Similarly to Dr Iannis, Mr Stevens also displays his feelings for his son, “I’m proud of you son” presents his ability to express his feelings towards his son.

In comparison Dr Iannis states he is “prodigiously proud” where as Mr Stevens is “proud. ” It could be argued that although both are expressing their love for their child, by Dr Iannis’ language “prodigiously” suggests a higher level of pride than that of Mr Stevens. Mr Stevens is plainly “proud” which may reflect his ability to express true feelings “plain” and simple. The language creates a contrast between both fathers and in effect may suggest two different levels of intimacy and pride towards their child.

It is through both Pelagia’s and Stevens’ aspiration to pursue the same career as their father that allows the reader to see the love presented. The theme of forbidden love is apparent in both novels. Firstly forbidden love is displayed in Captain Corelli’s Mandolin through the character of Carlo. The reader comes to learn about his homosexuality and that he is attracted to Francesco. This is an example of forbidden love as the society and army would both deem it unacceptable and improper. “I have been reduced to eternal love and infinite silence” highlights the measures he must go through because of its unacceptability.

The use of “eternal” and “infinite” implies never ending or forever lasting, which reflects upon societies view about homosexuality. Therefore Carlo’s love for men will remain ‘forbidden. ‘ Carlo’s intentions were different to others as to why he joined the forces. His purpose was to “find someone to love” clearly highlights his homosexuality, which is further supported by “I joined the army because the men are young and beautiful” displays his strong attraction to men. However he explains “I could love, albeit never touch” highlights the inevitable oppression towards his situation.

He understands that he will never be able to express his love for men until society changes its perspective. The seclusion from society of homosexuals displays how Carlos love will remain forbidden. In comparison it becomes apparent that Stevens and Miss Kenton have feelings with each other, however are bound by their job which hinders their ability to express love for one another. It becomes clear that Stevens conceals his feelings.

During ‘Day Three- Evening’ as Miss Kenton interrupts Stevens, she begins to question Stevens “what could it be you are reading there? displays her ability to start conversation, however Stevens refrains to engage in a conversation as he replies “simply a book, Miss Kenton” highlights Stevens reserved nature. “Simply” suggests his “simple” ideals and that he prefers to remain as a reserved person. In effect his reserved personality highlights his inability to engage in a conversation with Miss Kenton. Furthermore portrays how he deliberately dismisses any social interaction with her. In contrast Carlo is able to express his love to himself and the reader, where as Stevens is refraining to express any love.

The narrative style of Captain Corelli’s Mandolin allows Carlo to express his feelings to the reader “testify that in the army I found my family” displays his true feelings, “testify” further supports this idea. Where as Stevens as a character and a narrator is repressed and unreliable because it is not until towards the end of the novel that his “heart is breaking. ” The idea of forbidden love is supported here by both characters as one is bound to display love by society, Carlo, and the other chooses not to reveal any feelings, Stevens.

Structurally both novels create a contrast, in particular towards the end. Firstly the novel Captain Corelli Mandolin spans over a fifty year period and in the end not much is resolved. It becomes apparent that Corelli still has some feelings for Pelagia which is shown through “the red velvet waistcoat” which was “given fifty years before. ” The fact that it was kept so “carefully” portrays how attached he has become to the waistcoat. In effect it may suggest that he does not want to let go of any feelings for Pelagia, therefore by keeping the waistcoat enables him to keep his feelings for her intact.

However towards the end of the novel, there is no resolution in the relationship, in turn ending the novel ambiguously. In contrast The Remains of the day spans over six days and concludes with Miss Kenton and Stevens reminiscing and discussing about missed opportunities. “I’ve grown to love him displays Miss Kenton’s true feeling for her husband, she was not in love at first. Furthermore “I get to thinking about a life I may have had with you” supports the idea of missed opportunity. The fact that she still thinks about a future with Stevens after marriage supports the idea of missed opportunity.

It is towards the end of the novel that these feelings are presented to one another, which effectively summarise what they have been trying to say to each other throughout the novel, however in terms of their relationship, the idea of missed opportunity is apparent. Similar to that in Captain Corelli’s Mandolin, The Remains of the day ends ambiguously as not much is resolved. In conclusion both de Bernieres and Ishiguro present theme of love through representation of love between parent and child, the conversations between characters and the varying narrative perspectives.

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