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Does reading Lolita make you feel "bad".... 
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Post Lolita
Humbert Humbert believed he was in love with Lolita. I don't believe that a 12 year old would choose to express love by sex. HH was her father figure, an authority figure. When he took her, she relied upon him for her food, and shelter. I believe he manipulated her into believing that what was best for him, was best for her too. Remember, she had not gotten her period yet, Lolita was a child in his eyes. Child+man=molestation, in my opinion.

I feel she did not have a choice, because she could not say no. I don't think a 12 year old has the capacity to say no in a situation with an authority figure who is so much older. She was helpless, and HH forced himself on her.

I'm not trying to change your mind about how you read the book. I'm just giving my opinion. There is a political angle to "Lolita".
Think about this, Lolita represents the people, HH represents the country. In this light, I like your interpretation of the book. Take any issue up for political debate. Your "Lolita" has a say in that issue. My "Lolita", does not.

Nabokov's family left Russia during the Bolshevik revolution. I think to truly understand "Lolita", you need to understand Nabokov.



Thu Jul 09, 2009 4:12 pm
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Post Re: Lolita
Suzanne wrote:
I feel she did not have a choice, because she could not say no. I don't think a 12 year old has the capacity to say no in a situation with an authority figure who is so much older. She was helpless, and HH forced himself on her.


I'm really trying not to read this thread since I've never read Lolita. :laugh2: It's on my short list of books to read this summer.

But that's a very good point, Suzanne. When I was a newspaper reporter I took issue with a police report that alleged someone having had sex with a child. My argument then and still is that an adult cannot have sexual relations with a child because that implies consent by both parties. And as you say a child doesn't have the capacity to agree to have sex with an adult or at least that should be the assumption.


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Thu Jul 09, 2009 4:19 pm
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I guess I dont see why Its okay for a adolescent to have sex with another adolescent but not an adult. I dont think it would hurt less either way when they realize it was a mistake



Thu Jul 09, 2009 7:09 pm
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Post Lolita
Gothicmufin wrote:
Quote:
I guess I dont see why Its okay for a adolescent to have sex with another adolescent but not an adult. I dont think it would hurt less either way when they realize it was a mistake


I liked Geo's word, consent. Can a child give consent to have sexual relations with an adult? I would have to say no. To give consent, would mean the child has made a conscience discision.

The child is not making a mistake, it is forced upon them. It's like a rape victim blaming themselves.



Thu Jul 09, 2009 8:49 pm
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Post Re: Lolita
Suzanne wrote:
Can a child give consent to have sexual relations with an adult? I would have to say no. To give consent, would mean the child has made a conscience discision.


As I've already said I agree with this, but perhaps we need to differentiate between an adult essentially forcing himself (or herself) on a child versus an already sexually active teen, say, having sex with an older teen or even an adult. In that scenario it could be consensual even if it violates statuatory rape laws. There's a fine line there but definitely a line between consenting adults and an older person taking advantage of someone younger. I think our law has to draw the line somewhere arbitrary just to play it safe, but unfortunately this is going to result in the occasional rape case brought against, say, an 18-year-old having sex with his 16-year-old girlfriend when it's entirely possible that the relationship is consensual.


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Thu Jul 09, 2009 9:08 pm
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I agree Geo. I mean, maybe 12-13 is a little young but when I was that age I knew girls who were having sex with men around 17, and thats almost an adult. Maturity is a odd thing, some 30 year olds seem to be less mature then some 17 year olds. And some 12 year olds seem to be more mature then some 17 year olds. Everyone is different. Like I said before No means no. But its hard to me to decide where the age limit is for a child to consent to sex. technically they can at any age as long as its with someone around the same age. My mother was 14 when she got pregnate with me and my dad was 19. technically thats illegal, but they grew up and got married. And as far as I know she doesnt feel like he used her.



Thu Jul 09, 2009 9:30 pm
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Post Lolita
Now we have expanded the conversation. The original question concerning Lolita was about a 12 year old.

Geo wrote:
Quote:
we need to differentiate between an adult essentially forcing himself (or herself) on a child versus an already sexually active teen, say, having sex with an older teen or even an adult. In that scenario it could be consensual even if it violates statuatory rape laws.


I mentioned rape victims only in respect to the idea that a child might see molestation as a mistake. The child in this situation has not made a mistake. Simular to a woman who thinks it's her fault that she was raped.

I have a problem with statuatory rape charges for the most part. If it's rape, call it just that. If it's molestation, call it that. I think most statuatory rape charges that stick are of the variety you mention above. They stem from mom or dad not wanting to believe their child is having sex. I believe that statuatory rape charges have a greater conviction rate than should I say more conventional rape. The reason for this is because the adult victim is scrutinized where the "child" can not be. The testimony of the underage participant in Stat. rape can not be used at trial. Even if that participant tells the judge it was consensual, it will not be considered, and will not help the defense.

Ok, we have gotten way off topic. Good job Gothicmuffin!



Thu Jul 09, 2009 9:48 pm
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Post Lolita
Hello Gothicmuffin,
First of all, thank you for sharing such a personal story. You are right, it is very difficult to determine the maturity of youths. Harder yet to determine the maturity of adults. Kids need to be emotionally ready, as you stated before, "Will they hurt when they realize they made a mistake". The best you can hope for is that they will learn from their mistakes, and then let them go. This is the truth for every age, yes?



Thu Jul 09, 2009 10:21 pm
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I have a problem with most stat. rape charges as well, I agree that it is mostly when parents dont want to admit there child is having sex, I know a few people who were charged with stat rape. and it was never by the person they were having sex with. Also Im not sure if the difference between 12 and 14 is that large of one? Im trying to remember how different I was between the two ages? Although I will admit that HH was Lolita's father figuare after he took her in. However when she came back from camp she was talking about how she was "unfaithful" to him. Im not sure if thats HH's play on words in his own mind or something Lolita felt. Did she feel like she had to have sex with him? Or did a part of her feel she loved him? Even if that was a mistake?



Thu Jul 09, 2009 10:39 pm
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Post Lolita
Hello Gothicmuffin:

Lolita certainly learned from the best, she started to manipulate HH after a while. She learned how to get what she wanted. Once she became 15, or so, I felt like the tables turned a bit. She was more the parent, and HH became a child. Now, at this age, yes, you are correct, she certainly could have said no, could have run away, but she choose to stay.

You have to keep in my, this novel is written in the first person, re telling the story after it's conclusion. He does want desperatly for you to like him. You can't trust him. Everything he says is from his point of view, so it would be likely that he wanted her to feel so attached to him, he made up the "unfaithful" feelings after the camping trip. It would justify his feelings, and reinforce the reader to believe that she wanted it as much as he. A clue to this thinking would be the passages describing the death of the mother. Was it an accident, like he leads us to believe?

Another good example of this type of writing style can be found in the book, "The Good Mother", Sue Miller. I would recommend it to you. I would be very interested in your thoughts. I, wanted to throw it across the room, actually, I think I may have. The book itself can not compare to the magnitude of "Lolita", but it is simular in respect to the first person story telling. I have noticed many authors writing in the first person, I have to decide, is the action happening now, or is it a re telling.

I have noticed that you found another thread on Lolita. The "Control" thread I believe. This novel must have really affected you.



Fri Jul 10, 2009 8:06 pm
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I have read many books, but never before has one been so racking to my brain. I have to know Lolitas point of view of the whole thing. HH may be the best liar and manipulater ever, and maybe Lolita did pick it up from him. But the whole thing is very overwhelming. If Lolita did end up useing HH in the end, is that saying that in Nobokov's mind people are mirrors of their childhood? If Lolita was using what HH did as a way to use him in the end isnt that somewhat demeaning to the point of what happened? Although I will admit HH's details are sketchy, there was a part when he was meeting with Lolitas Prinicipal and she was telling him how Lolita has emotional problems, and he made a comment "Should I marry Pratt and strangle her?" I understand Nobokov added it for some comic relief, but it could speak volumes for HH as well. It it to difficult for me to determine just by outsiders opinions and HH what Lolita really intended.
I have heard of The Good Mother but have yet to read it, but I will bump it up on my list. thanks for the reccomendation.



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Post Re: Does reading Lolita make you feel "bad"....
I realize I am rather late in response to this question, nevertheless, better late than never.
It did have a adverse effect on me.

It is my contention to instantiate the reasons why many theorize "Loilta" as well as other works of Nabokov's should never have been written....or the effect they have had on society.

Nabokov presents "Nympholepsy" as a kind of artistry. However, over the last several decades, readers, writers, as well as critics are no longer willing to over look the pedophiliac content in Nabokov's works in favor of the "unreliable narrator's" elegant prose and Nabokov's claim of aesthestic bliss.

In "The Enchanter" the child is devoid of a name. However, Lolita does have a name: Delores Haze; yet in the cultural Lingua Franca there now exists a constant misuse of the name Lolita... eg "The long Island Lolita" ...websites dedicated to underage pornography, etc. When one hears the name it evokes thoughts of sexually precocious little girls. We can thank Nabokov for this Lolita complex.

Many of his closest friends and critics rushed to his side to defend the novel against undue charges of pedophila, immorality, and obscenity, and in doing so, exemplified Nabokov as a man of intellect, eloquence, and education: thus rendering the text in such a way to create a more socially acceptable , more tolerable story. And while artists and literary critics rallyed around one of their own in an attempt to avoid societal uproar and immorality charges and censorship....they blatantly ignored and expurgated the crimes against a child kidnapper and rapist, instead placing the blame on a twelve year old child. For the guilty they must ask themselves why is it more socially acceptable to believe the story of a seductive pre pubescent girl seducing a weak older male, rather than diligently search for the truth beyond Humbert's capricious narration.



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Post Re: Does reading Lolita make you feel "bad"....
I don't feel bad for having read the book. But it's an interesting question, because I think the book has a lot of dark humor in it, and it's sometimes odd to laugh along with that.

The thing about the book (for me, anyway) is that there aren't any legitimately likable characters. Humbert and Quilty, obviously, and then Lolita herself. After a certain point, I don't even feel all that bad for her anymore.



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Post Re: Does reading Lolita make you feel "bad"....
one-of-the-many wrote:
The thing about the book (for me, anyway) is that there aren't any legitimately likable characters. Humbert and Quilty, obviously, and then Lolita herself. After a certain point, I don't even feel all that bad for her anymore.


I think that's the one redeeming feature of this book (I love Nabokov but Lolita was just an exercise in sensationalism). Had he written a Lolita who was a clear cut victim, who had no sexuality of her own, who never encouraged HH and never became dislikable then this would be like on big episode of Law and Order: SVU. The fact that no one is relatable makes them all (and HH is included in this) more relatable. The lack of black and white in the novel is responsible for that conflicted morality we feel as readers. HH is a pedophile, we don't want to relate to pedophiles and yet Nabokov makes it so that we must. I would almost go so far as to say that if you don't feel uncomfortable with it then you aren't reading deeply enough into the book.


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