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Literature works span over such a broad platform with their themes taking parallel antagonistic contexts. Every author has his own style of presenting his work. Lolita is a novel by Vladimir Nabokov first written in English and published in the nineteen fifties in both Paris and New York. It was later to be screen played in a movie by Stanly Kubrick. This novel shows mastery of the arts and it is evident that the writer was in total creative control of his work. Although marred with myriad of criticism, Lolita has also enjoyed an equal measure of applaud. Commentators note that this tragicomedy novel had its theme well set although many people still shied away from accepting that sexuality was no longer a no-talk taboo. Similarly, it was oblivious of the people to believe that sexuality flies in conveniently at the legal age of 18 while in the real sense many of the teens are already aware of the topic as early as in their fourteens. Although the main character in this novel crosses the mind of every reader as a pervert, jealous and egocentric French Literature professor, it does not imply that every other character in the novel is free of blemishes. This paper will seek to explicitly expound the traits of Lolita, a twelve-year old character who is viewed by many readers as an innocent girl who fell in the hands of a pervert but who is indeed flawed and complicit than we would like to believe.
The novel presents Humbert Humbert as the narrator, a sexual pervert who has been jailed for breaking traffic rules and who opts for writing while in the prison to quench his obsession of writing and as well to tell of his escapades. That way, the novel Lolita is authored. Initially, he cuts across as a strong and intelligent literature professor who is well adorned with first class social manners and whose love life began while he was still at the age of fourteen. He repeatedly reminds the reader about these traits all through the prose. In this very subjective narrative, he draws on his fragmented and seemingly fading memories in a sincere yet sophisticated prose to gain the reader’s sympathy for what many critics identify as a psychotic behavior. Humbert, a literary scholar in his mid 40s narrates how he is obsessed with young girls, who he casually refers to as “nymphets”. This obsession, he suggests, resulted from the death of his childhood lover called Annabel Leigh (Nabokov 2011).
In 1947, Humbert moves to Ramsdale in New England to pursue his writing career after a failed marriage with Valeria, a Polish doctor’s daughter. In Ramsdale, he rents a room in Charlotte Haze’s house, a lonely widow who immediately falls in love with this young, strong and intelligent professor and their relationship immediately takes a new twist from the client-landlord relationship to an intimate one. While Charlotte tours him around the house, Humbert coincidentally meets Charlotte’s 12 year-old daughter known as Dollores and who is later introduced to us as Lorita or Lo. To Humbert, Lolita is the reincarnation of Annabel Leigh, his childhood love and original nymphet. He gets infatuated with her and resolves to stay in Charlotte’s house feigning love to Charlotte although his focus is on Lolita (Notes 2010).
While in Charlotte’s house, Humbert relentlessly uses his geniuses and candidness to win the trust of Lolita and reveals to us how he distastes Charlotte. He is constantly looking for an opportunity to get even closer to Lolita. Due to his jealous and selfish nature, he at one time contemplates killing Charlotte so that he can have Lolita’s total attention (Rill 2010).
Lolita is Charlotte’s twelve-year old daughter who cuts across as a young innocent and very flirtatious girl. Lolita’s true traits are in parallel antagonism of what most of us tend to decipher through our readership.
Initially while her mother was still alive, Lolita was very flirtatious with Humbert. Although she might have been oblivious of her behaviors, she was aware that Humbert was noting it. Humbert narrates how the young girl would secretly sneak into his room while he was not there. He further notes that she was very curious of things and thus he could trick her into his room by placing things that would tend to draw her curiosity (Melnick 2011).
After Charlotte’s death, Humbert goes to pick Lolita from her summerc school. Surprisingly, even after being told that her mother had fallen sick and had been admitted in the hospital, Lolita does not insist on seeing her but rather agrees to spend the night in a hotel with Humbert. In addition, Humbert tells us how she readily agreed to take a drink at the motel which he had put a sedative drug which he refers to as Vitamin X. The fact that this minor agreed to take a drink without questioning presents to the reader another side of Lolita that we didn’t know. We are left to assume that probably this might not have been the first time she was drinking (Melnick 2011).
After a failed attempt by Humbert to share a bed with Lolita that night, Humbert notes that he was astonished on the following morning when she initiated sex herself. He was, however, even to learn that he was not the first person to share a bed with Lolita as she had already done it with a female tent mate and with another male friend of hers while they had gone camping. Clearly, Lolita is not the darling we would have wished to endear. She has done a lot of things at her age some of which morally conscious readers would not approve of. This indicates that probably Lolita was aware of her flirtations with Humbert all along (Stockton 1882).
Later on, Lolita agrees to go along with Humbert from motel to motel in New England without complaints. In fact, she agrees to play a daughter to Humbert during the day and then in a swift twist, change her role to that of a lover during the night. This exposes her complicity and her compromising tendency.
She later confides with her mother’s long time friend identified as Quill who checks her out of the hospital where she had been admitted after falling sick during their country tour with Humbert. This separates her from Humbert. In the narration, we get to learn that she was starting to view Humbert as an unnecessary bother in her life.
Undoubtedly, Lolita is part and parcel of the complicit characters in the novel just like Humbert. However, her complicity is much more concealed and most often left to the imagination of the reader unlike that one of Humbert who acts a villain all through the story line (Stockton 1882).