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The Return of Chorb

The Return of Chorb


by Vladimir Nabokov

The Prostitute

Character Analysis

Much like the lackey character, the prostitute isn’t three-dimensional. We don’t really know anything about her, and quite frankly, we don’t care. Neither does Chorb; he’s simply using her for his own purposes (either because he needs company in the spooky room or because he wants to pretend she’s his wife). The most interesting aspect of this character comes across when Chorb falls asleep and we end up with her point-of-view, even if it’s only for a paragraph or two. We talk about this more in our discussion of Point-of-View, but the fact that we’re in her head provides us with a new view of Chorb – and perhaps a more sympathetic one. We understand the prostitute’s terror when she is woken in the middle of the night by screaming, but the image of Chorb sitting on the green couch "clasping his hairy shins […] with a meaningless smile" renders him harmlessly oafish. She can’t understand him, but we, having been with Chorb for most of the story, can. It’s also important that we spend some narrative time in the prostitute’s point-of-view, so that the ending – when we are left in the hallway with her and the lackey – doesn’t seem completely out of place.

The Prostitute Timeline