Ishiguro in The Remains of the Day says in an interview that something is gained if we move in the direction from not liking somebody to actually understanding them. How can we say that Ishiguro has achieved that by creating the character Stevens?
The relationship between Stevens and Lord Darlington is instrumental in analyzing the quote by the author.
Lord Darlington was a wealthy gentleman who sympathized with the Nazis and got involved in questionable activities, for instance, firing the two Jewish servants. These lapses in judgment damaged his reputation. Stevens on the other hand was committed to become the best butler to the best lord. However, this objective became difficult to achieve because of Darlington’s reputation. Stevens admitted that Lord Darlington was constantly manipulated by fellow colleagues and developed misplaced sympathies for the Nazis, which emanated from the harsh terms in the Treaty of Versailles.
Although Stevens did not like the changes in Lord Darlington, he grew to understand the man and his reasons for the changes. He further concluded that, in spite of his failings, Lord Darlington was not a bad man. However, Stevens is unhappy because he invested almost all his time in serving Lord Darlington and overlooked the need to develop himself. The relationship helped Stevens understand who he was and the role he played towards his own failures. This further provided him with an opportunity to meet his life goals and consider changes in his life towards becoming a better individual. Thus something was gained because by understanding Lord Darlington he was able to understand himself.