Both of the novels, The Remains of the Day and Dancing in the Dark, focus on the lives of their anachronistic main characters whose obsession with their professions dominates their lives to the point where it corrodes their identity and selfhood. Both novels position their protagonists in a time of transition and show their struggle to come to terms with the new realities which they face. Set in the decades of the 1930s, 40s and 50s, in a manor in the English countryside, Remains, written by Kazuo Ishiguro, depicts the protagonist‟s, Stevens, attempt to come to terms with profound changes in his life. Written by Caryl Phillips, Dancing is set in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century in the United States. Most of the action takes place in Harlem and depicts the entertainment careers of Bert Williams and his partner, George Walker. These performers attempt to escape the tradition of minstrelsy which was the only theatrical role available to blacks at the time. However, once they become successful, they find themselves enshrined in this role which they find racially and personally demeaning.
Barron, Agnel, "The Butler and the Minstrel: Profession, Performance and Identity" (2008). Graduate English Association New Voices Conference 2008. Paper 6.