In aware, told this story in a rambling way.’

In The Remains of the Day, there are three narrative selves in different time frames which dislocate Stevens at the point of writing from the events in the story, removing his culpability. Stevens the diarist comprises the first temporal frame as he comments on the behaviour of Stevens the motorist in the second frame, and on the actions of the third Stevens at Darlington Hall (see fig a). Alternatively, there are four selves in The Good Soldier as the extradiegetic Dowell communicates with the reader about the narrative outside of the fictional universe, ‘I have, I am aware, told this story in a rambling way.’ He escapes responsibility by appearing as the superior commentator on Dowell the storyteller, who addresses the ‘silent listener’ in the second frame. Dowell the storyteller is temporally separated from Dowell in the third frame, who impressionistically reconstructs his life story after Leonora has told him of Florence’s unfaithfulness, and Dowell in the fourth frame, who is ignorant of the entire affair (see fig b). Due to these frames, the most extricated self appears ‘at an ironic distance’ from the primary narrative and the reader does not extend the culpability for unfulfillment to these personas. Like Stevens, Briony narrates from an older position; however, to fulfil her act of ‘atonement’, she claims responsibility by encroaching on the narrative in the form of a more mature voice. Her explicitly proleptic remarks incriminate her most extricated self because they deliberately break down the frames she has set up: ‘within the half-hour Briony would commit the crime.’ Although Charles also narrates in a different frame from his past self, he is unlike Dowell and Stevens in that he does not make a determined effort to maintain the illusion of distance from his own tale. The structure of his story, with the Prologue and Epilogue at Brideshead bookending his memories, emphasises the discrepancy between now and then, drawing attention to the fact that his older self imbues the tale with an elegiac longing for the past. Alongside proleptic comments, ‘we did not question this reasoning, and there lay our mistake,’ Charles connects his extricated self with the actions of the primary narrative and breaks the frame. He does not ‘minimise his presence by standing in the shadows,’ as both Dowell and Stevens do through this self-presentation.