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The Return of Chorb

The Return of Chorb


by Vladimir Nabokov

The Return of Chorb Analysis

Literary Devices in The Return of Chorb

Symbolism, Imagery, Allegory

Read any analysis of "The Return of Chorb" and you’re bound to see a mention or two of Orpheus, the guy from Greek mythology. Where is everyone getting this from? The big tip-off is the STATU...


Nabokov creates a perfectly eerie setting for this tale of spectral suspense. It’s dark and shadowy, but the odd appearances of bright lights (from streetlamps to swinging bulbs to "gleaming"...

Narrator Point of View

While it feels as though we’re primarily following Chorb through this story, you’ll notice that we in fact get into all of the characters’ heads at one point or another. Just chec...


"The Return of Chorb" is an odd duck. As one of Nabokov’s more artful short stories, it’s certainly classic literary fiction – focused more on style and artistry than plot. But it...


To check out tone in "Chorb," just look at the language Nabokov uses to describe even the smallest of details. The newspaper boy utters a "hollow crepuscular cry" while "decrepit fiacres" stand in...

Writing Style

O.K., granted, you could say this about ANY of Nabokov’s works, but "Chorb" is a particularly good example. Because of the way language and detail are manipulated, we get a real sense of the...

What’s Up With the Title?

Initially, this title may be off-putting. First of all, what is Chorb returning from? And second of all, what does a journey have to do with anything? Then we might be tempted to chalk this up to C...

What’s Up With the Ending?

All of "Chorb" builds towards one moment: Chorb having to confront the Kellers and tell them of their daughter’s death. The suspense gets even worse when we know that 1) Chorb is in a seedy h...

Plot Analysis

Chorb’s wife is dead and the Kellers don’t know.The fact that the Kellers are in the dark about their daughter’s death means there’s some conflict already involved in this i...


Nabokov also dealt with the Orpheus myth in another short story called "The Visit to the Museum." Guess he was into that.We told you in the text overview that Nabokov didn’t like the initial...

Steaminess Rating

There is no sex in "The Return of Chorb." Now, considering the story spans a wedding eve and a night with a prostitute in a seedy hotel, this is a bit surprising.


Orpheus (33)Paul Kruger (1)Richard Wagner, Parsifal (1, 10)

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