From 11:00PM PDT on Friday, July 1 until 5:00AM PDT on Saturday, July 2, the Shmoop engineering elves will be making tweaks and improvements to the site. That means Shmoop will be unavailable for use during that time. Thanks for your patience!
We have changed our privacy policy. In addition, we use cookies on our website for various purposes. By continuing on our website, you consent to our use of cookies. You can learn about our practices by reading our privacy policy.
© 2016 Shmoop University, Inc. All rights reserved.
The Return of Chorb

The Return of Chorb

  

by Vladimir Nabokov

Analysis: Tone

Take a story's temperature by studying its tone. Is it hopeful? Cynical? Snarky? Playful?

Eerie, Spectral, Morbid

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 file. The seedy hotel displays "ragged lace" in its "bleary windows." This is basically a souped-up version of "it was a dark and stormy night…" Not only is the scenery shadowy and creepy (did you see the word "black" used eleven times? Because we did), but so are the almost supernatural occurrences. Look at the way the "naked bulb" swings its shadow across the hotel room, or the eerie sound of a moth hitting the lampshade. It’s almost as though this is a story about the spectral appearance of a dead woman or something. Oh…

People who Shmooped this also Shmooped...

Advertisement