Character Analysis Of Pnin By Nabokov

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Pnin 's narrator and Happy Sad Endings On the surface, Pnin by Nabokov is a story with no moral goal of professor Pnin, a comical character with delightful eccentrics, and a low mastery of the English language that makes him the center of his acquaints ' jocks. The Russian émigré teaches Russian language in a university in the United States after fleeing from Russia to France, and then to the United States. The story is narrated in the beginning by who appears to be one omniscient narrator who has access not only to Pnin 's unspoken thoughts, but also knows more than Pnin himself. However, the reader discovers very soon that the narrator, Vladimir Vladimirovich, is a character in the book as well. Furthermore, the narrator is self-conscious;…show more content…
The narrator cannot have the knowledge about Pnin because they are not close. Pnin and the narrator meet briefly several times over the course of their lives, but they do not have any profound conversations or stay in touch so that the narrator can have all the confidence he has in his account of Pnin 's thoughts, fears, and dreams. Furthermore, Pnin publically accuses the narrator towards the end of the book of making up all the stories. In a gathering that included Pnin, the narrator and other mutual friends, Pnin screams when he sees the narrator talking to another man:" 'Now, don 't believe a word he says, Georgiy Aramovich. He makes up everything. He once invented that we were schoolmates in Russia and cribbed at examinations. He is a dreadful inventor"(P. 138). In the narrator 's version, he tells the reader that he went to a different school from Pnin. In another instance, the narrator tells the story of how he first met Pnin when Pnin was 13 years old at his father 's clinic. The narrator states that Pnin 's father tells him that Pnin excels at school and he had got A+ on his algebra exam. Yet, Pnin denies all of this later and says that his father would never present his to patients and he did poorly in Math when he was in school.…show more content…
For example in addition to the train incident, there is the incident where Pnin beautiful bowl given to him by Victor slips from his hand while he washes it while he reader with agonizing feeling of slow motion follows it falling; however, Pnin manages to catch it in the last second. There is also the time where pnin is fired because he does not want to work under the narrator, but instead of being devastated for losing his job after 10 years of work, he leaves the town in his car leaving the narrator behind him wondering about his destination" Then the little sedan boldly swung past the front truck and, free at last, spurted up the shining road, which one could make out narrowing to a thread of gold in the soft mist where hill after hill made beauty of distance, and where there was simply no saying what miracle might happen"(P. 143). One explanation for this pattern can be because the narrator distorted the facts. He granted Pnin the happy ending every time not because he likes Pnin, but this keeps making Pnin look more pathetic and helpless. He does exactly what pnin hates. Pnin says once that" the history of man is the history of pain"(P. 126). When the narrator denies Pnin from this pain as it happened, he denies him his dignity and his right to have his story. This is the sad ending the narrator accomplishes without alerting the reader to it
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