Essay Obsession in Vladimir Nabokov's Lolita
2272 Words10 Pages
Obsession in Lolita
The relationship between Humbert Humbert and Lolita is no doubt a unique one. Many people who read the novel argue that it is based on "lust", but others say that Humbert really is in "love" with Lolita. However, there is some astounding evidence that Humbert has an obsessional-compulsive disorder with Lolita. The obsession is clearly illustrated when Humbert's actions and behavior are compared to the experts' definitions and descriptions of obsession. In many passages, Humbert displays obsessional tendencies through his descriptive word choice and his controlling personality. Many people are obsessive, so this is not an alien subject. We see it everyday in the entertainment industry as well as in…show more content…
195). He further describes it as "...a defense in which the internalized mother is split into accepting and rejecting aspects by which the person gains quasi-independence from her by identifying with her" (112). This idea is clearly illustrated in Humbert's relationship with Charlotte Haze. He clearly despises Charlotte as seen when he first meets and describes her: "The poor lady was in her middle thirties, she had a shiny forehead, plucked eyebrows and quite simple..." (Nabokov, pg. 37). He also describes her as Lolita's "Phocine mamma" (42). This is a zoological reference to seal-like animals.
Furthermore, Humbert expresses his fear of Charlotte when he admits to the reader that he does not know how to handle her: "Had Charlotte been Valeria, I would have known how to handle the situation by merely twisting May 3 fat Valechka's brittle wrist but anything of the sort in regard to Charlotte was unthinkable" (Nabokov, pg. 83). Then, the reader senses his hatred toward his wife when he tries to plot Charlotte's murder, but he does not follow through with his plan, because "poets never kill" (88). According to Brink's explanation of obsession, Humbert fits into the obsessional defense category. Obsessive males' fear of women also manifests itself as control. (Brinks, pg. 196). In fact, Salzman says that "it is the
Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov Essay
2752 Words12 Pages
Vladimir Nabokov, one of the 20th century’s greatest writers, is a highly aesthetic writer. Most of his work shows an amazing interest in and talent for language. He deceptively uses language in Lolita to mask and make the forbidden divine. Contextually, Lolita may be viewed as a novel about explicit sexual desire. However, it is the illicit desire of a stepfather for his 12-year old stepdaughter. The novel’s subject inevitably conjures up expectations of pornography, but there in not a single obscene term in Lolita. Nabokov portrays erotic scenes and sensual images with a poetic sensibility that belies the underlying meaning of the words. The beautiful manipulation of language coerces one to understand Humbert’s interdict act of…show more content…
From the first, he juxtaposes the ordinary with the sexual in his descriptive odes to love as well as simple statement reflecting her youth. The juxtaposition of youth and sexual desire is the driving force behind the novel and the controversy. The wording, however, is a mixture of romantic lyricism and obscene allusion. The tension is derived through the sensuous beauty of the words rather than the image of the young girl, just “four feet ten”. “The tip of the tongue taking a trip of three steps” refers to Humbert’s tongue and the palate he wishes to “tap at three on the teeth” is Lolita’s. Evidently, Humbert’s clever choice of words masks the interdict aspect of his sexual desires for Lolita. Poetic lines such as “light of my life, fire of my loins” become fundamental in understanding the contextual allusion from immorality in Humbert’s deviant sexual desires and behavior.
The deviancy of Humbert’s sexual encounters with Annable Leigh, his first love, at age 13 is masked by beautiful, erotic language, making their sexual act natural and decent. Humbert asserts that his love for and memory of his first love provided the basis for his affair with Lolita. Humbert’s sexual experience with Annabel takes place one summer night in a garden on the French Riviera. His description of their act contains no sign of trepidation or self-censorship; it is highly poetic from beginning to end. The narrator is not so much trying to describe the erotic games of two