Humbert Humbert of Vladimir Nabokov’s Lolita
Humbert Humbert. A delusional, sick, middle aged man obsessed with a self created love for pre-pubescent girls he has namely dubbed nymphets. Right? Wrong, this is only the skin-deep image we are given of the main character in Vladimir Nabokov’s Lolita. Rather, He is a highly intelligent chess master who is constantly aware of his environment and is able to manipulate it with minute actions bringing him the results he desires.
Humbert’s obsession for the opposite sex starts in chapters three and four when we are introduced to his first love - Annabel. As Humbert recalls his beloved nymphets, he talks of two kinds of visual memory pertaining to remembering a face. One that a person, with
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The reason Lolita was such a revolutionary novel is because Nabokov has so much control over everything that is going on through Humbert’s eyes. He manipulates the story to twist the reader’s opinion. By incorporating such rich detail and full imagery through scholarly grammar and vocabulary, he somehow tries to escape fault for his sins against an innocent girl. “Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, the majority of sex offenders that hanker for some throbbing, sweet-moaning, physical but not necessarily coital, relation with a girl-child, are innocuous, inadequate, passive, timid strangers who merely ask the community to allow them to pursue their practically harmless, so-called aberrant behavior, their little hot wet private acts of sexual deviation without the police and society cracking down upon them…. We are unhappy, mild, dog-eyed gentlemen, sufficiently well integrated to control our urge in the presence of adults, but ready to give years and years of life for one chance to touch a nymphet” (Nabokov 87-88). I think most are able to see through this smoke screen, and realize that although Humbert is not deranged or psychotic, his obsession for and actions against young girls is horrifying and wrong.
As we progress through the novel, we learn just how much of a game it is for Humbert to have Lolita. Before the death of Charlotte Haze, Humbert had something to restrain him from Dolores. Since what he truly wanted was unattainable, he had to venture,