Study Guide

A Russian Beauty Love

By Vladimir Nabokov

Love

The pretty girl gets all the boys, right? So what happened to Olga? "A Russian Beauty" plays with how we expect a story with a young pretty lady to turn out. Instead of having tons of suitors and getting happily married, Olga is unmarried way longer than we expect her to be and dies in childbirth. That's not what normally happens to the pretty girls in literature, is it? Things get even more complicated because it doesn't even seem like Olga wants to be in a relationship. What's that about? We might like to think of love as simple and romantic, but in "A Russian Beauty," it's anything but. Love in this short story is just a bundle of confusion and disappointment.

Questions About Love

  1. Why does Olga behave the way she does with men who might be interested in her romantically? How would you expect her to act? Why is this a problem?
  2. Do you think that marriage is a romantic or economic relationship in "A Russian Beauty?" Why?
  3. Why do you think Vera is so excited to set Olga up with a husband? What do you think the relationship is between her and her husband?

Chew on This

Love is not actually something Olga wants in "A Russian Beauty."

Love is the ultimate goal of "A Russian Beauty."

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