Lolita Essay, Research Paper
In the novel, Lolita, written by Vladimir Nabokov, the setting takes place in New England during the 1950 s. The protagonist is a man named Humbert Humbert who is fifty-four and has infatuations with nymph-like girls. The antagonist is Humbert Humbert s mental disorders, which lead him to his sick obsession with a twelve-year-old nymphet named Lolita. Humbert s conflict is man versus self because he is constantly dealing with his obsessions and infatuation in his head. Humbert s obsession with Lolita begins when he moves in with her mother, Charlotte Haze. In a freak accident Charlotte is hit and killed by a car, which gave Humbert custody of Lolita. Humbert takes Lolita on a two-year road trip across the country where they become intimate with each other. Lolita is suddenly kidnapped by a man named Quilty, thus preventing Humbert to see his daughter/ lover for about three years. During that period of years Humbert s mind goes wild as he constantly thinks about Lolita. After Humbert finds Lolita again, he finds Quilty and kills him. Although Lolita is married and is pregnant, Humbert is still in love with her and stays attached to his memories of her nymphet days.
Humbert Humbert is a man of many character traits, therefore making him a round character. Humbert is round because he is a pervert, a madman, conceded, temperamental, jealous, vulgar, and violent. Humbert has an obsession with nymph-like girls who are more than half his age. Between the age limits of nine and fourteen there occur maidens who, to certain bewitched travelers, twice or many times older than they, reveal their true nature which is not human, but nymphic (that is, demoniac); and these chosen creatures I propose to designate as nymphets. (Pg. 16) Humbert s philosophy on life is being loved all the time makes him happy so he wants nymphets around him because they are too young to understand what love really is. Humbert is a static character. He keeps the same philosophy throughout the entire novel.
A major situational irony in the novel is how infatuated Humbert was with Lolita and then he ends up being her stepfather. Throughout the novel, Lolita makes reference to Humbert as being her father although they were also lovers. What thing, Dad? (She let the word expand with ironic deliberation). (Pg. 112) There is verbal irony in the novel when Humbert thought about killing Lolita s husband and he found out that they lived on Killer Street. Hoarse Paul told me he did know a Richard, the son of a cousin of his, and his address was, let me see, 10 Killer Street. (Pg. 268)
A symbol in the story is when Lolita was being sinfully flirtatious, eating an apple in front of Humbert, which he described as being Eden- red. She had painted her lips and was holding in her hollowed hands a beautiful, banal, Eden-red apple. (Pg. 58) The symbol of the Eden-red apple comes from the Bible story of Adam and Eve. Another symbol explains the perverted and sexually orientated mind of Humbert. He described an abscess of his as being the size of a maraschino cherry, which is also, slang for a virgin. To explain my grim mood, I had to use the same toothache I had already simulated in the morning. Must have been an enormous molar, with an abscess as big as a maraschino cherry. (Pg. 63)
There are many lessons one learns as they read Lolita. There are many lonely people in the world that look for love to fill their voids. Although Humbert definitely had some mental problems, he was a needy person who always looked for love. When he received the love he wanted, he would become obsessed and protective of it. In the story, Lolita was the love that Humbert wanted. In Lolita s case, she had no where else to go since her mother s death so she turned to Humbert as someone to fill her void. At the hotel we had separate rooms, but in the middle of the night she came sobbing into mine, and we made it up very gently. You see, she had absolutely nowhere else to go. (Pg. 142) Lolita is a story full of love, obsession, infatuation, and loneliness. The dark love story makes the reader think about love and relationships and the meaning of love and relationships of other people.