Ominous Signs and Symbols

Signs and Symbols by Vladimir Nabokov is a short story centering on the severe mental debility of a young man and on the struggle of his elderly parents to cope with it. Ominous signs and symbols confront not only the son in his world but also the mother and father in their world. Examples I used in my Pinterest are the photos of empty subways to represent it losing “its life current,” the report that their son has attempted suicide is represented by quotes about suicide and police reports. A dying bird in a puddle, the girl crying on the shoulder of a woman, and photographs of Nazi’s all tie in to create the solemn feel of the story. These photos allow for the story to come alive, showing the truly dark imagery that Nabokov intended for his audience to experience. Flags signifying their search for change represent the family’s journey from Russian to America. The telephones represent the irony that is that they cannot communicate with their son, and he cannot communicate with anyone. All of the photos together foreshadow the bad news at the end of the story and the possibility that the third telephone call will report that the son has succeeded in killing himself.


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