To and the novel is finally published,

To conclude, as the past is ‘dependent upon the articulation retrospectively given to it,’ Stevens and Dowell cast alternate life histories where they appear as the inculpable victims of their tormentors. In a frenzy to salvage anything of value from their wasted lives, Dowell and Stevens project versions of themselves which mitigate their sexual and moral regrets. Free to make their distortions as there is no corroborating evidence for the reader to get a true perspective of them, these first-person narrators lie ‘just to make things palatable, or make a sense of (themselves) bearable,’ as Ishiguro reveals about Stevens. Just as Charles Ryder is able to immortalise his perception of the estates he paints before they are destroyed, where he ‘repair(s) the clumsiness of the dull workman,’ Stevens and Dowell use writing to eternalise a history they have manipulated in accordance with their guilt. As Briony writes at the very end of her novel: ‘When I am dead, and the Marshalls are dead, and the novel is finally published, we will only exist as my inventions.’ However, despite their efforts through the use of structure, both Stevens and Dowell fail to certify these new historical realities with the sympathy of the reader. Due to Stevens’ semantic gaps and Dowell’s recasting of words, both are denounced as imposters who have ‘touched up and tinted (their) own photograph(s).’ Although the reader still cannot grasp Dowell’s true slippery self and, as he writes, ‘It is all a darkness,’ Dowell cannot conceal his deception or culpability. Stevens’ discourse fails to an even greater extent than this as his semantic gaps are filled by the reader’s preconceptions to discover their reading of the information that he wishes to hide. Perhaps the only reward that Stevens and Dowell reap from these self-presentations is the aid in overcoming suffering as, persuaded by their own convictions of the past, they console themselves with fantasy. Their deception allows them to manage painful ‘realit(ies) by their construction’ and gives a false sense of fulfilment which they cannot derive from their own lives. As Charles writes about illusion: ‘When the water-holes were dry people sought to drink at the mirage.’