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Lolita, part 1, chapters 10-15 
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Post Lolita, part 1, chapters 10-15
Lolita, part 1, chapters 10-15


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Tue Oct 07, 2008 12:27 pm
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Humbert must be a very good actor and very good at hiding his feelings as Lolita's mother seems oblivious to the attraction. I expect that her own attraction to Humbert and jealousy of Lolita might also keep her from seeing anything unusual. Or, perhaps it is just beyond the realm of her imagination that this attractive man in his early forties could possible be sexually interested in her 12 year old daughter.

The sexual scene on the couch where we are asked to put aside our moral judgement and view it as a sympathetic (can't remember the word used here) listener is difficult. This would be a typical adolescent sexual encounter with two young people just learning about the sexuality with urges they were just beginning to explore. But when you think about this older man playing at an adolescent sexual game it becomes sick. Humbert does give you the impression of an adolescent boy, love sick, unable to channel his life beyond what his body wants.

Lolita's resemblance to his first love that was sweet and innocent when the two young lovers were at an intellectually level playing field plays with our minds and Humbert's to find some thread of acceptability to what he is feeling, to move it beyond lustful pedaphilia and over to a forbidden love. But, picturing his age and then hers, with her chipped nails, unwashed hair, and childhood innocence with budding sexual awareness that should be protected is hard to set aside. That she adores him and the new feeling he is awakening in her makes you realize why we are so protective over our young daughters.

Many young girls have their first crush on older men, teachers, coaches, family friends and are easily taken advantage of. In some societies it is acceptable for older men to take very young wives. Each society finds ways to deal with this dilema that exploits young girls before they are old enough to understand and make good decisions for themselves, through laws, family protection, covering their bodies from head to toe, keeping them away from men. Each generation works on educating their daughter and/or warning them but lust/infactuation/desire is a powerful force?



Thu Nov 06, 2008 3:07 pm
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Post Lolita - a greek myth?
What I found most striking about the early chapters is Humbert's attitude toward women, likely a product of extreme insecurity covered up by cavalier arrogance.

His comment on life and women in Paris:

"No wonder, then, that my adult life during the European period of my
existence proved monstrously twofold. Overtly, I had so-called normal
relationships with a number of terrestrial women having pumpkins or pears for breasts; I was consumed by a hell furnace of localized lust for
every passing nymphet whom as a law-abiding poltroon I never dared approach. The human females I was allowed to wield were but palliative agents."

On meeting Lolita's mother, this is his assessment.

"She was, obviously, one of those women whose polished words may reflect a book club or bridge club, or any other deadly conventionality, but never her soul; women who are completely devoid of humor; women utterly indifferent at heart to the dozen or so possible subjects of a parlor conversation, but very particular about the rules of such conversations, through the sunny cellophane of which not very appetizing frustrations can be readily distinguished."

Even in our modern world where women are often objectified (even by other women) I think these two quotations demonstrate that Humbert is an objectifier extraordinaire. His arrogance is also extreme in my view. How can he meet someone and within moments make such broad statements about her that are "obvious"?

His pattern of using prostitutes is more of the same, only taken to the degree of exploitation. His pathetic attempt at marriage is quite comic, but then, in his mind he married an "object" so one might predict such a sad and silly outcome.

By chapter 11, Humbert's objectification focuses on Lolita. Which leads to the other aspect of these early chapters that interested me ... the way he labeled girls "nymphets". Not being a greek mythology major, I turned to Wikipedia which states the following:

"In Greek mythology, a nymph is any member of a large class of mythological entities in human female form. They were typically associated with a particular location or landform. Others were part of the retinue of a god, such as Dionysus, Hermes, or Pan, or a goddess, generally Artemis.[1] Nymphs were the frequent target of satyrs. The symbolic marriage of a nymph and a patriarch, often the eponym of a people, is repeated endlessly in Greek origin myths; their union lent authority to the archaic king and his line."

"In Greek mythology, satyrs (Ancient Greek: sartys are a troop of male companions of Pan and Dionysus



Thu Nov 20, 2008 3:50 pm
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I smell a greek myth here.


I don't know much about greek myths, but I am not sure that you will think this as you continue reading. I think it is about old world meeting new, sort of a ploy to make us think there is a historical component to Humberts desires, then Dolores's character thrusts us into modern times (or would be modern times at the time of publication).

See what you think as you get farther into the story.



Fri Nov 21, 2008 4:05 pm
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I have read this with interest, thanks to both of you, and thanks to Giselle for looking up nymphs and satyres. I'm sure the author had this in mind when he created the word "nymphet".


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Fri Nov 21, 2008 4:17 pm
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