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Lolita's point of view in Lolita. 
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Post Lolita's point of view in Lolita.
Lolita's point of view in Lolita.


Well, no revelations from me, I'm nearing the end of the book and never getting a second point of view is getting more and more frustrating.

Why did she leave him for Quilty, had she planned it all, how about those years after she had left Quilty-- did she meet her husband immediately?

How did she view Humbert?
It's infuriating, we'll never know, and it's also infuriating to think that perhaps there is nothing to know. She seems to be such a shallow and immature character that maybe her diary or a confession would shed very little light on the matter.

To put things in a positive perspective, the author's choice of point of view achieves two things:

- it creates tension throughout the novel.

- it creates mystery. The real Lolita might have been a disappointment if we'd known her, but we'll never know her side of the story, so the gaps in the information (Humbert's partial presentation of even what he knows) make us want to know, and long after we've finished the book, we'll still be wondering.


Also, there are no attempts on Humbert's part to present (his view of) her point of view-- which underlies his self-centeredness (not surprising if you play the part of the pedophile of the story).
She is only described in regard with what affects him: for example he needs to keep her happy with trips and visits so that he can have sex with her. When he says that she cries at night, there is no attempt on his part to explain or find out. One might say it's obvious, but then she isn't your average thirteen-year-old, and when I read this it struck me as a good example of Humbert's clouding the issue as regards Lolita.


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Fri Oct 24, 2008 9:45 am
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Why did she leave him for Quilty, had she planned it all, how about those years after she had left Quilty-- did she meet her husband immediately?


I thought that she left Quilty after a short time because of his lifestyle with another girl. I think that I read that she did not meet her husband until later. Perhaps her husband was her desire to leave her sordid past and live a somewhat respectable life. She did not want him to know the truth about Humbert, just that he was her father. She even made the comment that she supposed he was a good father in his own way. This may have been in reference to the ways in which he tried to make her happy so that he would not lose her. She still saw herself as being partially or equally responsible.

I think leaving Humbert was something she thought about often. I think the way her character is just revealed in small slivers of Humbert's thoughts, almost by accident reveals more than it hides. He did not really want to admit that she was unhappy, than she never got any pleasure from sex, that she was a prisoner, that he took away her life.

Lolita did have a rebelious nature, and her mother's view of her as being a 'bad' child probably fed into her view of herself. She had a survivalist's instinct and she learned to manipulate Humbert. There are several comments about her thinking he murdered her mother. She really never knew exactly what happened to her mother and she really had no one else to turn to except Humbert.



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Post Re: Lolita's point of view in Lolita.
Lolita doesn't leave Q, he kicks her out because she refuses to "work" with the other children. She only wants Quilty, but he is practically impotent and just films little girls doing the things he would want them to do. As far as her husband goes, I don't think it really matters when she met him following all of that. Lo also tell HH that Quilty was the only man she had ever "really been crazy for," which tells enough about how she feels about HH.

She planned her escape with Q. She knew precisely where they would be and when they would be there, so even if Quilty had to leave their trail for any reason, he would still be able to find her along the way. She tells HH that she wants to take another trip, only this time she gets to choose where.

I believe mistaking Lolita for a "shallow, immature" character is wrong. She is forced to grow up and behave like an adult very quickly. Her moments of childishness are probably more the real Lolita than any of the other moments, like when they're listening to music in the car and HH is annoyed by her, etc.

Humbert is writing the memoir as a tool to use in trial, all things are from his point of view, and very likely manipulated in order to present himself in a better light. If it appears to a jury that Lo was consistently coming on to him, he will only get time for rape/child molestation (which is what he feels is all he should be convicted of). He doesn't regret murdering Quilty, but everything prior to that moment.

I think that HH knows why she cries at night. Several times are because he mother is gone, she has no place else to go, and Humbert knows that and knows that because of that she will stay with him. The two manipulate each other: Humbert by buying her clothes and toys in order to keep her spirits up; Lolita uses sex as a bargaining tool to get what she truly wants. The difference is, Lo knows she's being played, Humbert does not. He wants so desperately to believe that Lo loves him as much as he loves her that he cannot see past that.



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Sun May 09, 2010 8:40 pm
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Post Re: Lolita's point of view in Lolita.
AshD wrote:
Humbert is writing the memoir as a tool to use in trial, all things are from his point of view, and very likely manipulated in order to present himself in a better light.


This is spot on. What makes "Lolita" so compelling is that HH, (Nabokov) does manipulate the reader. When ever reading a piece of fiction written in the first person, the reader needs to determine if that person is telling the truth.

AshD wrote:
I believe mistaking Lolita for a "shallow, immature" character is wrong. She is forced to grow up and behave like an adult very quickly. Her moments of childishness are probably more the real Lolita than any of the other moments, like when they're listening to music in the car and HH is annoyed by her, etc.


Excellent!

Her name is Dolores! She is a victim of HH, and as readers of "Lolita" we become a victim as well, this is the mastery of Nobokov.



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Post Re: Lolita's point of view in Lolita.
To be completely honest, I think there could be a significant depth to Dolores. I wish that "Lo's Diary" wasn't such a failure, because it could have been written beautifully. Lolita was depicted at sadistic and bratty, but I think she was actually a rather kind hearted and utterly confused little girl, growing up way too fast in part due to her maturity, and partly due to H.H. I do wish I had the time and money to write and publish a novel from Lolita's point of view as I imagine it. Nabokov does have quite the knack for suspended mystery.



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