Posted at 01.01.2019
The narrator of Vladimir Nabokov's novel Lolita, Humbert Humbert, denounces himself and identifies himself as "a brute, " (Nabokov 193). It really is all too easy for many readers to include their own condemnation; after all, Humbert is a cultivated man who during the period of the story lusts after and partcipates in sexual relationships with a twelve time old female. Yet a deeper reading of the materials reveals that there could be more to the storyplot than a simple circumstance of pedophilia. An study of personality and symbolism in Vladimir Nabokov's Lolita provides proof to support the theory that Humbert is a sympathetic but flawed figure who's manipulated by Dolores Haze.
First of most, Humbert provides an argument for his actions that allows perception into his reasoning. The relationship between Humbert and Lolita is not socially suitable, but Humbert tries "to normalize his actions, citing Poe, Proust, and Petrarch showing how norms have modified as time passes, " (Rothstein 22). Humbert defends himself every once in awhile by citing historical associations that were a lot like his with Lolita, pointing out that such interactions were acceptable using times and places, and even arguing that lots of women of Lolita's years have reached a state of physical maturity. When he suggests that "soon I found myself maturing amid a civilization that allows a guy of twenty-five to judge a woman of sixteen however, not a girl of twelve, " it becomes clear that Humbert views modern culture, somewhat than himself, as the flawed element in this formula (Nabokov 16). Irrespective of his arguments, based on the criteria of twentieth hundred years American culture Humbert's romantic relationship with Lolita is socially unacceptable and he remains top quality as a kid molester. Once more, Humbert is kept from being entirely evil. Humbert is not interested in children, and is also referred to as having "the most respect for standard children, with the purity and vulnerability, and under no circumstances would he have interfered with the innocence of a child, " (Nabokov 19-20). Douglas Fowler agrees, asserting that Humbert is "no deflowerer of innocent children" (49). Instead, Humbert's interest sits using what he message or calls a "nymphet, " or a girl who attracts those much more than herself and who is "a lethal little demon among the wholesome children, " (As Nabokov 16-7). As predatory as his patterns can happen, Humbert does not have any goal of corrupting or harming the innocent.
Unfortunately, these rationalizations lose some of their success when considering that they come from a grown-up who should know better. Alternatively, the argument that Humbert's "inner child" performs into his tendencies provides an substitute justification for those actions. Near the beginning of the word, Humbert relates the tale from his childhood of your seaside romance with a girl named Annabel, which was busted off first by the disturbance of a set of adults and lastly by the girl's fatality. This miserable situation reflects the poem "Annabel Lee" by Edgar Allan Poe, with its tale of lost love.
I was a kid and she was a kid,
In this kingdom by the ocean:
But we cherished with a love that was more than love-
I and my Annabel Lee; (Poe 7-10)
Humbert seems intrinsically tied to Annabel, again shadowing the presenter of the poem's assertion that little or nothing"[c]an ever before dissever my soul from the heart and soul of the stunning Annabel Lee, " (Poe 32-3). It can be argued that Humbert never completely grew up therefore of this incident; part of his heart and soul was stunted by his unconsummated years as a child love affair. Humbert himself admits to the impact these circumstances have on later events when he says that "actually, there might have been no Lolita at all got I not treasured, one summer months, a certain first girl-child, " (Nabokov 9). The concept that Humbert's interior child affects his action is reinforced by yet more proof from the storyline. For example, when Humbert and Lolita tripped on their primary highway trip he showers her with gift items and goes out of his way to amuse her, referring to himself as "eager, hopeful Hum, " (Nabokov 140). This reads such as a nervous young young man trying desperately to please the girl whom he admires, expecting to catch her attention and gain her favor. The fact that Humbert expresses disgust with his own adult form, which he identifies as his "adult disguise, " also lends support to this argument (Nabokov 39). Margaret Morganroth Gullette highlights that to Humbert, "[a]ll grownup characteristics - over-sized structure, hairiness, smell - are unnatural to the heart that seems itself to be essentially childlike, " (223) and that is "a loathing which he jobs onto adult women, " (222). The idea that Humbert is actually a child captured in a man's body makes his infatuation with Lolita if not socially suitable, then at least slightly more understandable.
If the reader will get a track of innocence by delving beneath Humbert's sinister surface, an examination of Lolita exposes a surprising lack of virtue lying down underneath her childlike face mask. Nabokov establishes the inconsistency of her identity within the very first paragraph: "She was Lo, ordinary Lo, in the morning, standing four feet ten in one sock. She was Lola in slacks. She was Dolly at institution. She was Dolores on the dotted collection. But in my forearms she was always Lolita" (9). The girl's constantly moving name mirrors the metamorphic quality her figure; in one minute she actually is an injured child, and in the next she reads as a calculating seductress. In many ways she seems to be the average American child, and yet she has nothing of the innocence that youth implies. The simple truth is that she actually is aware of Humbert's infatuation with her and torments him with lines such as "[w]ell, you haven't kissed me yet, have you?" (Nabokov 112). Humbert may never have gone so far as to actually have intercourse with a nymphet were it not for his relationships with Lolita. In fact, it is Lolita who actually seduces Humbert, and then continues on to reveal a history of intimate deviancy. "Suffice to state that not really a trace of modesty performed I understand in this beautiful hardly formed young lady whom modern co-education, juvenile mores, the campfire racquet etc had absolutely and hopelessly depraved, " Humbert commentary, (Nabokov 133). As a result of this previous problem, "Nabokov will save him from the take action of actually deflowering precocious Dolores Haze" and "shifts moral responsibility away, " (Fowler 149). This encounter occurs in an inn known as The Enchanted Hunters, launching the symbolism of the "hunter, " where Humbert is a hunter whose programs are fired up their head by the youthful nymphet. This theme is echoed later by Lolita's engagement in a play titled The Enchanted Hunters, in which she portrays "a perfect little nymph" who places several lost hunters under hypnotherapy (Nabokov 196). Indeed, Humbert spends the entirety of the story under Lolita's spell.
Perhaps the most powerful argument in Humbert's favor is the fact that he truly adores Lolita. At first it seems that his love is based after his view of her as the reincarnation of his lost Annabel, but while Lolita's resemblance to Annabel may have sparked Humbert's fascination to her, the theory that is the driving a car push behind his interest soon loses its potency. As Humbert points out, "A little later, of course, she was to eclipse completely her prototype, " (Nabokov 39-40). Thus, it becomes clear that Humbert's love is on her behalf, and not for a mere replacement unit of Annabel. The book is filled up with Humbert's endearments for Lolita and his obsession with her is palpable. However, there's a difference between obsession and love, and throughout the novel the type of his emotions for Lolita is ambiguous. It really is by the end of the book that the true scope of his love for Lolita is uncovered. As Noni Tamir-Ghez writes, "only at the end will he (and then the reader) understand that he actually is in love with Lolita, not the nymphet in her, " (82). When Humbert finally locates Lolita after three years of searching, he discovers that his nubile nymphet has been changed with a seriously pregnant and worn-out house-wife. Astonishingly, the man who have been disgusted by indicators of maturing throughout the entirety of the novel is not repulsed by this glaringly adult version of Lolita. Rather than dissipating, his love for her shows through with full drive. He insists that "I enjoyed my Lolita, this Lolita, pale and polluted, and big with another's child, " (Nabokov 278). Humbert shows the most mankind when he not only discovers the true depth of his thoughts for Lolita, but also requires responsibility for his part in the happenings in the story. He relates an occurrence during Lolita's absence when he listens to the voices of children and comes to realize "that the hopelessly poignant thing was not Lolita's absence from my side, but the lack of her tone of voice from that concord, " (Nabokov 308). Only now does Humbert's love for Lolita overcome his dependence on her. This combined with his regret for his activities helps it be easier for the reader to sympathize with him.
Humbert attests to his own guilt and the complete novel is intended as a confession. However, if Lolita may very well be the victim of a child molester, then Humbert can even be seen as the sufferer of both his own warped head and the manipulation of your deviant child. With no context of the storyplot it might be difficult to comprehend Humbert's actions, let alone forgive him for the kids. However, Nabokov provides adequate material to support the conclusion of Humbert's vulnerability. Upon examining his figure, Humbert is shown to not truly be a monster, but instead a deeply flawed specific: psychologically stunted, self-deluded, and irresistibly attracted to that which society has deemed is unattainable.