2011 Student Research Conference:
24th Annual Student Research Conference

An Examination of Insanity and Allusion in Vladimir Nabokov's "Signs and Symbols"
David D. Winn
Dr. Hena Ahmad, Faculty Mentor

Vladimir Nabokovs short story Signs and Symbols (1948) follows the parents of an institutionalized young man suffering from a mental illness called referential mania, which causes him to read deeper meanings into everything around him. This psychological state has condemned him to a sanitarium and has jeopardized his parents own mental stability. The storys title and subject matter both invite the reader to look for images and allusions, so this paper will examine the psychological implications and symbolic nature of the events and images described therein. It will also examine the merits of the sons madness which, it is suggested may actually be a form of enlightenment, and the subtext of the story in relation to the holocaust which is heavily referenced by the storys myriad symbols and allusions.

Keywords: Signs, Symbols, Nabokov, Vladimir, Psycology, Symbolism, Referential, Mania


Presentation Type: Oral Paper

Session: 26-4
Location: VH 1324
Time: 2:00

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