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Lolita is a complex story of passion, obsession, and manipulation. In the forward, Psychologist John Ray, Jr. , introduces the story; “Lolita, or the Confession of a White Widowed Male,”(Nabokov, Vladmir Lolita, 3) as written by a middle-aged European pedophile named Humbert Humbert. The essentials of this title immediately strike you as controversial considering that a lolita is a promiscuous young girl and a confession is an admission of one’s sins.

Hum is viewed as the victimizer by others, but views himself as the victim.

He blames Lolita for his disposition, but also feels responsible for causing Lolita so much pain. How can a twelve-year-old girl have so much power over an adult? Who is the victim and who is the victimizer? In the following essay this topic of discussion will be examined thoroughly as we explore Humbert and his love interest, Lolita.

The novel is written in first person narrative which creates a pragmatic depiction of Humbert; an obsessive, disillusioned and deviant character. He is full of contradictions and says “I knew I had fallen in love with Lolita forever; but I also knew she would not be forever Lolita. (Nabokov, Vladmir Lolita, 7) which meant that he was conscious of the situation he was entering, however he made an excuse for himself to ease his conscious. In part one, you are taken back in time to Hum’s childhood where you are introduced to his Howell 2 childhood sweetheart, Annabelle.

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It then becomes evident that his obsession with Lolita started with Annabelle. He was haunted by the memories of his lost love, therefore the only way to kill Hum’s pain was to incarnate Annabelle with another. Upon meeting Lolita, Humbert immediately recognizes the similarity between the two. Lolita was a “fatal consequence of that “princedom by the sea” in my tortured past. ” (Nabokov, Vladmir Lolita, 11) Humbert becomes obsessed with Lolita, this obsession is displayed through his actions, behavior, dialect and need for total control. Humbert manipulates and controls Lolita, as well as others in the novel and even the reader, exhibited by directly addressing them as his “jury”. Humbert rationalizes with the reader about his obsession with Lolita, manipulating them into thinking he is mentally ill and does not know that his actions are wrong.

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This is precisely what his plan is; to get the readers to sympathize with him. Humbert starts his manipulation with Lolita’s mother, Charlotte, who falls madly in love with him. He recognizes the opportunity to take advantage of Charlotte’s endearment for him and decides to trick Charlotte into thinking that he is in love with her and marries her to stay close with Lolita. However he does not succeed in doing this because Charlotte is jealous of the affection Lolita receives from Humbert. “He successfully ridicules Charlotte for example, as a representative middle class american uffoon but he fails to see that her very inadequacines expose him as well. In some ways Charlotte is very much like Humbert. Charlotte’s hopeless passion for Humbert for example parallels Humbert for Lolita. Despite Humbert’s ridicule ,Charlottes romantic feelings are not so different from his, belying his claims that his ecstasies are special. ” (Wallace, Howell 3 4:2493-2494) Charlotte is very selfish, materialistic and easily influenced by media. “Charlotte Haze has her perceptions and her “mode of expression” shaped by “soap operas, psychoanalysis and cheap novelettes.

Humbert is familiar with the patterned experiences and cliched phraseology of these forms and is able to use his knowledge to deceive Charlotte. ” (Winston, 4:2487) As a writer, Humbert is able to use his literary skills to create Charlotte’s perfect romantic fantasy, enabling him to be intimate with Lolita without Charlotte noticing. Eventually Charlotte becomes jealous when the majority of Hum’s attention is directed to Lolita and sends her to summer camp, with proceeding plans to send her to boarding school when she returns home. When Charlotte reveals er plans, Humbert’s obsession with Lolita comes to an extreme when he considers killing Charlotte for the sole purpose of being next to Lolita. Ironically, Charlotte’s jealousy leads her to find out the truth of Humbert’s feelings towards Lolita and in an attempt to expose him for the pedophile he really is, it struck by a vehicle and killed.? Lolita is much like her mother in her fondness for Humbert. Her admiration for him is visible throughout the book. For example, Lolita has various scribbling and doodles of the two of them together on the walls of her room and the cliched DL & HH, enclosed in a heart, carved into her headboard.

She also make her adoration evident by the affection she displays. She never leaves his side when they are together and is very flirtatious with him. When Humbert picks Lolita up from Summer Camp after her mother’s death, Lolita informs Humbert that she had been unfaithful to him by experimenting sexually with a boy from camp. Lolita is seemingly mature for her age, and is referred to by Humbert as a nymphet. This allegation proves true by her promiscuity at camp Howell 4 and her vampish behavior.

Humbert shares with us that he was not at fault in his relationship with Lolita and that it was her who seduced him. This could very easily be regarded as truth due to the path of action she takes. For example, in the Enchanted Hunters hotel room the morning after she returns from camp Lolita questions Humbert’s past relationships and asks him if he has ever had sex as a child. When he answers no, she proceeds to copulate with him. Humbert states that, for her, sex was just another activity between children, unconnected to what adults do behind closed doors.

Lolita likes to play on Humbert’s emotions, she will intentionally tease him then push him away when he gets close. She often contradicts her actions by threatening to tell the police that Humbert raped her after having sex with him. Lolita constantly hurts Humbert with her indifference and rebuffs him when he pleads for her affection. Humbert often buys gifts for Lolita as an attempt to keep her interested in him. Humbert eventually comes to realize that his continual sexual activity with Lolita has given her an impression that attracts other men and boys. He ries to prevent Lolita from having any other interaction with the male species, and allows Lolita to interact with other girls her age and participate in select activities like horseback riding, tennis and theater in exchange for sexual favors. Humbert often bribes Lolita with money in exchange for intercourse. Humbert emphasizes to Lolita that if she turns him in for rape she will become a ward of the state and be enrolled in the state-run reformatory school. His desire for Lolita is so strong that he neglects her feeling as a human being, keeping her just content enough to still want intercourse with him.

Lolita is very deviant and is able to convince Humbert to take her away on a road trip to Howell 5 wherever she wants to go. He assumes that she just wants to be with him and agrees, little does he know that Lolita has planned to escape him and elope with another man. Lolita’s theatrical experience makes it easy for her to deceive Humbert. He observes a man, which seemed to be following them on their journey, but dismisses it for a hallucination. Lolita had been in contact with the man the whole time her and Humbert were traveling.

Lolita soon convinces Humbert that she is ill and is taken to a hospital. Humbert decides to stay in a motel close to the hospital, and when he returns to retrieve Lolita, he is informed that she had already been checked out by another relative. This whole plot Lolita had planned provides useful information about her character, taking on the assertion that she had manipulated Humbert into thinking that she was in love with him. Deceiving him so that he would not be suspicious of her other lover. This proves that Lolita was the more manipulative of the two in a romantic setting.

Although Lolita had toyed with Hum’s emotions and pretended to love him, she could have suffered from adolescent bipolar disorder, but was never diagnosed with it. Lolita had almost all of the common symptoms of early-onset bipolar disorder; marked irritability, frequent mood swings, impulsivity, restlessness, silliness, aggressive behavior, rages and explosive temper tantrums, oppositional behavior, grandiosity, hypersexuality, confusion, manipulative behavior, bossiness, lying, and depressed moods. While there is continuing debate over the validity of the diagnosis of mania in hildren, since 1994 a number of systematic clinical investigations and family/ genetic studies have begun to shed light on the presentation and naturalistic course of childhood-onset bipolar disorder, suggesting a developmentally different Howell 6 presentation in young children as compared to its adult form.

Adult-onset and juvenile-onset forms of BPD have certain similar features and comorbidities in common, but in the juvenile form of the disorder, the complexities wrought by the frequent overlap of symptoms with other disorders that are far more commonly iagnosed in childhood has had a confounding affect on clinical diagnostic practice for years. (Papolos, Cockerham, Hennen) If she had had this disorder, it could explain why she had been back and fourth with Humbert. She was often irritated with him and often had mood swings after intercourse. Given this information about Lolita were true, it would be in irony that Humbert was suffering from an illness of the same type, trying to make the reader believe that he was indeed mentally ill. Some may think that Humbert’s relationship with Lolita would be the primary cause of her bipolar nature.

However, Lolita displayed signs of adolescent bipolar disorder far before their first sexual encounter. In spite of Lolita’s voiced desire for Humbert, Humbert should not have exploited Lolita either. He knew from the beginning that his feeling for her were wrong. “Although pedophilia remains illegal, and our culture still considers it morally wrong, recent changes in the APA’s own diagnostic and statistical manual (DSM) have reopened the discussion of the psychological dimension of pedophilia. History of the Diagnosis. In the DSM-III, the American Psychiatric Association contended that merely acting upon one’s rges toward children was considered sufficient to generate a diagnosis of pedophilia. ” (Rind) Howell 7 The years after Lolita left were spent being studied by psychologists in various sanitariums for not only the exploitation of young girls, but the Murder of Claire Quincy, Lolita’s other Lover. Humbert would have then been labeled a pedophile and received medical help to cure him. However, he also exhibited severe skitzotypical behavior, therefore making it near impossible to diagnose him. He would purposely take on symptoms he did not have, make up illusions, and lie about dreams and thoughts he had, causing a falsified diagnostic.

Instead of accepting that he had an illness, Humbert wanted to keep his and Lolita’s affair sacred. He may have also had a personality complex which is exhibited in his paranoia and fits of rage, which would explain why he killed Quincey so violently. In conclusion, both Humbert and Lolita were possible victims of mental illness which would have caused them to behave out of the normal character. Each one abused the other, Humbert in pursuing and obsessing over Lolita and Lolita in encouraging Humbert’s desires for her and making him think that it was acceptable to do so.

Humbert really did love Lolita, despite the relationship’s immorality and was extremely hurt when he had found out that Lolita left him for another man. “Humbert is the hero with the tragic flaw. Humbert is every man who is driven by desire, wanting his Lolita so badly that it never occurs to him to consider her as a human being, or as anything but a dream-figment made flesh–which is the eternal and universal nature of passion.

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Familiarizing with Lolita Essay Topics. (2019, Dec 07). Retrieved from

Familiarizing with Lolita Essay Topics
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