Date of Award

Spring 5-18-2024

Degree Type


Degree Name

MA English




Russell Sbriglia, PhD


Muhammad Farooq, PhD


Marxism, Althusser, ideological state apparatuses, critical posthumanism, transhumanism, Kazuo Ishiguro, The Remains of the Day, Never Let Me Go, Klara and the Sun


Kazuo Ishiguro’s works are introspective explorations of how one’s prescribed role in society shapes one’s identity; this self-reflection is evident in three of his novels, The Remains of the Day, Never Let Me Go, and Klara and the Sun. All three novels heavily rely on the point of view of a member of the subservient class, and this perspective provides insight into the unnamed hierarchies within society and the relationship, or lack thereof, between divided classes. Despite their similarities in structure, each novel explores class relationships in different ways. The Remains of the Day focuses on an individual living a life of devout servitude to a man undeserving of such unwavering dedication, while Never Let Me Go explores the ethics of upper-class individuals living comfortably yet knowingly at the expense of others. Klara and the Sun explores the relationship between humans and machines and posits an interesting division between human beings themselves, separating humans who are genetically enhanced from those who are not. For my thesis, I propose to bring Marxist and posthumanist theory into conversation with each novel as a means of further exploring Ishiguro’s careful critique of societal values and class stratification. With regard to the former, the legitimacy of authority and the relationship between an individuals’ job and identity are key aspects to each novel and correlate with Marxist views on ideological illusion and alienation. Furthermore, regarding the latter, most of these novels involve an element of technological advancement that contributes to class separation, and this technological dimension places these novels in dialogue with critical posthumanism and transhumanism. This dual Marxist and critical posthumanist approach to these three works can help us better understand Ishiguro’s commentary on modern society.