Theme of Obsession in Lolita

THEME OF OBSESSION IN ‘LOLITA’ BY VLADIMIR NABOKOV

Taking a deeper look into the novel gives a straight picture and tells us more about the following theme. Humbert was so obsessed with Lolita that he gave her various names. In the beginning of the book, he has mentioned the various names of Lolita. He says that her real name was Dolores but he loved to call her Lolita. He, at times called her Dolly and Lo as well. He even confesses of committing a murder and addresses the readers as his jury and asks them to present his case. He explains to the jury, i.e., the readers that Lolita was not the first girl child in his life but there were many more.

Humbert talks about his childhood and those happy days he spent at Paris. Humbert tells that he was brought up by his father and one of his aunts as his mother died while he was young. He talks about his sex education which was just similar to the old French movies and various books. He assembles his memories of having an encounter with one of his lovers who died due to typhus.  He talks about how he and Annabel were never able to consummate their love even after trying so much. According to Humbert, Annabel and Lolita had a lot in common. He feels that the magic Annabel had casted on him once was broken when Lolita entered his life. She had the same charm and magic on him.

He moves further talking about his college days. He tells how English literature fascinated him and henceforth, he took up the studies of English literature and gave up on the study of psychiatry. During his study of Literature, he visited various prostitutes but he could not ever feel that bond with anyone, he realized with time that he was only sexually attracted to small teenagers, also known to be nymphets. A nymphet, according to Humbert was not tend to be beautiful but she must possess the sexual appealing personality. In continuation to the manuscript we would find various relations of Humbert with different women all together.

“We had been everywhere. We had really seen nothing. And I catch myself thinking today that our long journey had only defiled with a sinuous trail of slime the lovely, trustful, dreamy, enormous country, that, by then, in retrospect, was no more than a collection of dog-eared maps, ruined tour books, old tires and her sobs in the night—every night, every night—the moment I feigned sleep.” Here, Humbert states the dispiriting incompatibility between him and his young lover, Dolores or Lolita.

 The following study not only focuses on Humbert’s obsession of Lolita but about his obsession of nymphets that made him commit serious crimes. In order to fulfill his wild desires he decides to get married to an adult woman, named Valeria. But their marriage failed and they separated from each other. Humbert still remained obsessed to young girls and still could not feel comfortable with adult women. Soon, he went to the United States where he met an adult lady, namely, Charlotte Haze. He found her in a town of England. She was a widow. He decided to reside in her house as he was sexually drawn towards her teenage daughter, named Lolita.

Humbert used to follow her actions, he used to spy on her. Sometimes, he even flirted with her. As he could not reveal his intentions to anyone so he maintained a journal expressing all his desires and intentions clearly. With the following already happening in the picture, Charlotte Haze, the European lady fell in love with Humbert Humbert whereas Humbert hates Charlotte and found her quite irritating. Soon, after the drama, a summer camp came up for Lolita from her school. Lolita sent her to the summer camp. Meanwhile, in her absence the two, Humbert and Charlotte decided to get married. It was a plan of Humbert to get married to her in order to remain close to his true love, Lolita. After his marriage to Charlotte, he gets fed up of her as well as her tantrums and just feel like getting rid of her so that he could stay forever alone with the love of his life, Lo. He describes Lolita by mentioning the following, “Lolita, light of my life, fire of my loins. My sin, my soul. Lolee-ta: the tip of the tongue taking a trip of three steps down the palate to tap, at three, on the teeth. Lo. Lee. Ta. She was Lo, plain Lo, in the morning, standing four feet ten in one sock. She was Lola in slacks. She was Dolly at school. She was Dolores on the dotted line. But in my arms she was always Lolita.”

Humbert had it all on his nerves now and just wanted to get rid of the problem, namely Charlotte Haze. All he wanted was to make love to his daughter, Dolores Haze, which he mentions is known to be Lolita in his arms. He decides of killing Charlotte. He attempts or makes effort of killing her but he fails to do so. Meanwhile, Charlotte finds the journal that he maintained. He mentioned the hate he had for the lady and all his desires about Lolita in the journal. Charlotte could not digest the fact that he had been planning to do such things. She decides to confront him with the proof of having a journal. On being confronted, Hubert denies the fact that he had been thinking and writing up all this in the journal. He was so obsessed in the love of Lolita that he just wanted to attain her at any cost, he was ready to commit any serious crime for her as well. Charlotte, on being feeling cheated she decides of leaving him and runs out from the house. In the heat of the moment, she ran so fast that a car hit her and she died on the spot. Everything now became easier for Humbert to grab. That moment, the only thing came up to his mind was Lolita. He goes to pick her up from the summer camp. He was not able to tell her the truth of what happened to her mother. They arrived at a hotel, only then he was able to tell her the truth about the death of her mother. In between all the events happenings, Humbert exclaims that he has been seduced by Lo, whereas the story was other way around. We all know that it must be Humbert himself who has been seducing her to get her attention and in order to get close to her. Both of them decides to drive across the country for around a year. This time period was crucial in his life as they got close to each other and in the meantime, Lolita got a chance to start manipulating him. This is how she learns the art of manipulating Humbert. Whenever she used to act stubborn or stick unto anything that she wants, Humbert used to threaten her of being admitted to an orphanage. Meanwhile, Humbert notices a strange thing that a strange looking man has been following them since the beginning of their travel. He further takes into account that the strange man has been taking mere interest into the two of them. It seemed like he was keenly interested in knowing about their travel plans. He was constantly following them.

“In a nervous and slender-leaved mimosa grove at the back of their villa we found a perch on the ruins of a low stone wall. Through the darkness and the tender trees we could see arabesques of lighted windows which, touched up by the colored inks of sensitive memory, appear to me now like playing cards—presumably because a bridge game was keeping the enemy busy.” The following lines were quoted in the novel stating the depression Humbert faced with all the attempts he made to consummate his love with his first love, namely Annabel.

CONCLUSION

The novel gives an account of how the childhood of Lo has been destroyed by her very own step father, the following is stated in such a way, “Unless it can be proven to me—to me as I am now, today, with my heart and my beard, and my putrefaction—that, in the infinite run it does not matter a jot that a North American girl child named Dolores Haze had been deprived of her childhood by a maniac, unless this can be proven (and if it can, life is a joke) I see nothing for the treatment of my misery but the melancholy and very local palliative of articulate art.” The following gives a brief of how the little child has been brought up to be a grown and mature lady by all the acts performed by his very own step father, Humbert Humbert.

Reading the following novels gives a taste of the fresh sip of a coffee in a windy morning. It feels like an adventure reading this novel. Further in the novel, Humbert gets a good paid job at a college. He was enrolled as a professor and thus he admitted Lo into a school. After her admission to the school, there were restraints in their relationship as the wish to meet the boys of her own age developed in her. This brought a different between Humbert and Lolita. This made Humbert become even more strict for Lolita. He imposed restrictions for every little thing on her. There was going to be a school play conducted in the school where he allowed her to participate as he was not aware of the fact that this would completely bring a change in their lives. This made Lolita become a bit secretive and quiet around him. She does not felt like sharing things with him anymore. Humbert started seeing her as the unfaithful one. Also, he started accusing her of being the unfaithful one and the one ruining their relationship. To make her realize, he takes her on another road trip. Again, they felt that they were being followed by somebody. Lolita could not notice that there was a stalker stalking them but Humbert as he thinks that she is the unfaithful one so she might have been conspiring against him with the stalker. Throughout the novel, one can see the growing obsession of Humbert for Lolita.

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