Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name




First Advisor

Jan Gorak, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Susan Walter, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Adam Rovner


Absolution, Confession, Narratee, Narrator


My thesis examines the narratees of three novels by Kazuo Ishiguro: An Artist of the Floating World, The Remains of the Day, and Never Let Me Go. In each novel, a first person narrator directs his or her story toward an unidentified narratee. Through their narration, the narrators reveal who they imagine their narratees to be and why they are telling their stories to these particular types of people. In relating their narratives, Ono, Stevens, and Kathy H., the respective narrators, each reveal a secret they have sought to hide from the other characters in the novel, a past action of which they are ashamed and for which they desire to confess and offer justification in the hopes of receiving absolution. Ono reveals to his narratee that he used his art to further the Imperialist movement in pre-World War II Japan and caused the arrest of one of his anti-Imperialist students. Stevens, a British butler narrating from 1956, admits to loyally serving an aristocrat who was both a Nazi sympathizer and an anti-Semite. As part of a cloning program in an alternative 1990s England, Kathy H. calmly submits to and assists a system that will eventually harvest her vital organs for use by others. Unable to find anyone to sympathize with them, understand their reasons for acting as they did, or forgive them for their mistakes, the three narrators turn to narratees they imagine to be much like themselves. Through their relationships with their narratees, these narrators grapple with guilt, responsibility, self-deception, and autonomy in their various contexts.

Publication Statement

Copyright is held by the author. User is responsible for all copyright compliance.


Received from ProQuest

Rights holder

Katherine E. Harrell

File size

103 p.

File format