29 pages 58 minutes read

Vladimir Nabokov

Signs and Symbols

Fiction | Short Story | Adult | Published in 1948

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Essay Topics


Consider the story’s title “Signs and Symbols.” In what ways does the title apply to the narrative and does its meaning change if you, like the New Yorker, reverse the title to “Symbols and Signs”?


None of the three central characters in the story receives a proper name (this guide refers to them as the mother, father, and son). What is the significance of their anonymity?


How would you characterize the relationship between the mother and father? Does their relationship change over the course of the story? Cite specific examples.