Is Lolita A Love Story Or Pornography?
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Is Lolita a Love story or pornography? Is it Moral or Immoral?
Lolita, the dramatic story of the main character, Humbert Humbert and the twelve and a half year old Lolita is the most controversial and greatest masterpiece created by the Russian writer Vladimir Nabokov. Lolita is a full-blown psychological novel, a detective novel, a confessional novel, a DoppelgÐnger Tale, an extended allegory for artistic process a sexual myth, more complicated and mysterious than comparable to Freudian stereotypes, even a fable with correspondence to the little red riding hood story.

Nabokov possesses the power to enchant the reader with an enormous variety of beautiful language and structure. By creating word plays he enables H.H. to convince the reader to sympathise with him by referring to him as a romantic poet in reality he exploits and sexually abuses Lolita. The first part of this essay deals with the first chapter of Lolita in depth analysing Humberts language and its effect on the reader.

Nabokov uses language as a device to portray Humberts thoughts and emotions and to develop him subtly as the major character, established in this first passage. The tone of Humbert Humbert who is the narrator throughout the novel is very gentle to begin with, E g. “Lolita, light of my life, fire of my loins.” This metaphor established the idea that H.H. is a romantic poet. As well as the phrase; “My sin, my soul.” Further using the literary device of metaphors, importantly this institutes him as the tragic hero from the beginning g onwards and not as a pervert.

His language contains a lot of literary devices such as metaphors, imagery and alliterations, E.g. “Tip of the tongue taking a trip”, creating images in the readers mind. It allows the reader to view the scene through Humberts eyes, being dragged into the story and like a critic describes, he makes us his accomplice.”

The perhaps most obvious point which can be made about Humbert is his obsession with the young juvenile girl. This can be shown by the two quotations stated above in which Humberts love for Lolita seems almost unrealistic with passion. He announces the inexperienced and innocent girl as the reason for living. Humbert is desperately in love with his nymphet showing his love in an extremely possessive way. His obsession is shown through him pinning the young girl down to prevent her from growing. An example for this is his jealousy towards her male friends and the fact that he rapes her several times and locks her up.

Humbert effectively uses Freudian analysis of the early death of his parents and especially the death of the one girl he truly loved “In a princedom by the sea”, to excuse his perversion. Reasons for his obsession to possess and use her whenever he wished are the fear of losing someone. Of course this is ironically mocking Freud and the reader, as Nabokov detested Freuds theories of Developmental Psychology and the name Annabel Leigh derives from a poem, suggesting that the character may not have existed in Humberts story.

The most important reason however, is the fact that Humbert hates to see Lolita grow into a woman. A symbol for this is the constant travelling they go through during most of the novel, it is an example of how H.H. wants to stop time and prevent anything else to come between the two “lovers”.

H.H. tries to pin down the elflike nymphet like; Nabokov kills and pins down his butterflies with the need to possess the precious, beautiful subject. H.H. loves Lolita but in a sick and selfish way and he does not love her enough to grant her the freedom of her childhood or of growing healthily mentally and physically.

The narrator presents this in his language. He always refers to Lolita as a subject belonging to him or being part of him: “My sin, my soul.” and “…there might have not been a Lolita, had I not loved one summer a certain initial girl-child…” by which he questions the existence of Lolita in reference to his past actions.

The most famous of Nabokovs word games is his use of the word, therapist which can also be read as the the rapist. It confronts the reader with H.H.s twisted ideas and images of morals as he constantly tries to justify his abuse of the young girl.

An example for this can be seen by another word game Nabokov introduces in the first phrase: “Lolita, light of my life…” The word game within this is Lo lit a light of my life. In the first line Humbert uses another word game in; “fire of my loins.” Here the two following words “my Lo” can be found, which clearly shows Nabokovs passion for word games and challenging the reader which keeps him constantly occupied and interested in Nabokovs language and structure.

H.H.s sense of humour seen through his word games makes the reader sympathise with him in a bizarre way even in grotesque situations. Humbert always seems to be able to twist the readers opinion into liking him, even though he describes the horrific things he does to Lolita. The narrator uses irony and the mocking of other people such as his therapists and Charlotte Haze, only involving the reader as the secret reader of his journal allow the audience to enjoy his jokes about saint like figures. This is ironic because his relationship with the young girl is clearly immoral.

The reader catches himself enjoying the dark sense of humour. An example for this sort of irony is Humberts paragraph: “Ladies and gentlemen of the jury… Look at this tangle of thorns.” Here Nabokov uses religious aspects such as seraphs, which symbolise purity and innocence to show that his love for Lolita is deep. Humbert here reaches his goal as he wins sympathy of the reader.

At this point in the novel the reader does not know of what or that Humbert is guilty of anything. Through his gentle tone, elaborate language and romantic sense Humbert appears as a prince in a fairy, the definite hero. The reader almost believes Humberts position in court to be accidental, as he seems incondemnable.

Lolita makes the first approach to intercourse in the novel on page 133 when she suggests that they play a game. Importantly Lolita views it as game “she and Charlie had played”. Humbert states “she saw the stark act merely as a part of a youngsters furtive world unknown to adults. What adults did for purposes of procreation was no business of hers.” This comic description shows Lolitas naivetй as well as the lack of connection she has to the game.

There is no passion

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Humbert Humbert And Lolita A Love Story. (April 12, 2021). Retrieved from