The Return of Chorb
by Vladimir Nabokov
Analysis: Narrator Point of View
Who is the narrator, can she or he read minds, and, more importantly, can we trust her or him?
Third Person (Omniscient)
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 check out the bit at the end when Chorb is asleep and the narrative focuses on the prostitute watching the opera house from the window of the hotel room. This allows for some great narrative flexibility. When Chorb wakes up screaming, for example, we experience it from the prostitute’s point of view – we feel her terror because we’ve just spent a few paragraphs inside her head. But we don’t lose our anchor in Chorb; we’re told that "he had woken up […] and had seen his wife lying beside him," information that’s clearly limited to Chorb in this scenario.