Imagery and Personification in Vladimir Nabokov's "Thunderstorm"

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In the story the “Thunderstorm”, Vladimir Nabokov’s complex imaginative piece, the author employs imagery and personification to take the reader into a fantastic and dreamy world. From the very beginning when Nabokov is depicting a seemingly realistic setting, he introduces personification in his narrative to set the mood of the piece. The wind, described as a “blind phantom” is later found “... waiting for me in the room; it banged the casement window and staged a prompt reflux when I shut the door behind me”. Giving human attributes to the wind turns it into an active character in the story. In addition, layering mystical qualities in the image of the wind contributes to the fantastical feel of the story. To further the impression that the reader will be taken to a dreamy world, Nabokov then introduces a series of unusual characters and images inhabiting the deep court yard – “the melancholy ragmen”, “an obese blond woman with a lovely voice”, “the wail of a crippled violin”. In this almost hallucinatory world the main character falls asleep. This is the departing point from reality into fantasy. Nabokov interweaves the imagery from the myth of Elijah and his chariot as a main cause for thunderstorms with the main character’s strong emotional reaction to the raging element to create an atmosphere. The Thunder God is depicted in a striking way, “dressed in the flying folds of dazzling raiment ... leaning backwards in his fiery chariot” suggesting this is a powerful deity at work not a mere mortal. The images of the “black steeds” with “blazing manes”, “the lurching chariot” contribute even more to the supernatural perception of the storm. The mythological figure and the character/narrator of the story come in close contact. They actually interact with each other as Elijah’s chariot crashes against a rooftop and he is thrown off into the
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