Lauren’s True Lies

I felt this last read point to what truth really represents throughout the memoir. What is truth according to Lauren? Dr. Neu tells Lauren that “trickery is so hinged to your personality style, and, therefore, you were only being true to yourself”(202). It seems as if Lauren herself was symbolized as a lie, and standing as a lie, she stood true to how a lie is defined. Lauren states “I hid…through lies, but at the same time, every tale I told expressed a truth”(207). It’s like the truth is there somewhere in the mix, but as Lauren states in chapter one, “I exaggerate”(3). As she further goes on to say, it can be confusing in regards to how the truth is expressed; the whole idea in what a metaphor does. Lauren uses metaphors throughout the memoir faithfully. When at her daily AA meetings she describes her epilepsy as alcoholism, the metaphor, epilepsy is alcoholism. She feels she tells the truth at each meeting, as both alcoholism and epilepsy share similar symptoms. Later on, a sorrowful Lauren can’t help but feel like a “liar”(208); she feels that her tale is surrounded by “smoke”(210), as it wasn’t the “true tale”(210). The tale she told was covered by a metaphor, the smoke. She told her co-members everything about her so called epilepsy and what it had caused her over the years; she just covered the word epilepsy with alcoholism.

By the end of this section it appears as if Lauren kind of asks, what is truth and what is fact? She asks this in an attempt of showing how time evolves the term “fact”(215); she tries to show just how “real” (217) her experiences were. At one point in history, fact was that demons were the cause behind epilepsy. Fact today points out how epilepsy is caused by a medical condition, not demons; who’s to say that from today there won’t be another rising fact explaining the cause of epilepsy or any other factor we may think our facts can explain. Another point made between differing facts is when Lauren believes her auras to be of the spiritual kind, Dr. Neu simply notes them as part of her medical condition. Here we have two arguing forces debating the facts to what causes Lauren’s auras.

In the afterword Lauren describes this book as a nonfiction memoir, and though it’s not told in “historical truth”(219), it’s told in “narrative truth”(219). Narrative truth is exemplified in the quotes above; she tells the truth in the form of metaphors. She states how, “the figurative truth means more than the literal”(208). As revealed Lauren represents a lie, a metaphor to be precise. When she speaks, she speaks in metaphors. When she writes, she writes in metaphors. Her whole memoir is a metaphor, thus she is staying true to Dr.Neu’s diagnosis as quoted above.

Different Ideas On This Section

It seems as if Lauren is made out to be this perfect liar, the effect of having both epilepsy and a “crave”(101) for attention.

While we already know of her epilepsy, her obsession for attention is officially revealed when realizing she had not been the only one in Dr. Neu’s life; it appears that Dr.Neu has a family. Lauren states, “his world was so wide, I was just a tiny piece”(96). Lauren seems to want to play that special role in someone’s life. She thought Dr.Neu needed her as his forever “patient”(94), which she comes to also think she was the only one in Christopher Marin’s interest. Much to Lauren’s dismay, she comes to find out that Christopher is in support of all his students; it appears while Lauren was in efforts of playing around with Christopher’s flirtatious remarks, she had forgotten “he had other students”(124). That moment was a heads ”down”(124) event for her.

I like how we get this origin of the author through her character in the story. Lauren states, “I talked about wanting to someday write…a book called Lying”(119) based on her life as an epileptic. We as readers get the feel of the start of her writing career as she developed them while at a young stage of life. The main idea that stood out to me was her connection between “epilepsy, auras and creativity”(112). These three elements in Lauren’s life identify the reason to why she speaks with such a metaphoric tongue. Her auras are described as these “feelings and tastes, delights and despairs”(110); all placing her into this “dreamy”(110) world of seeing life as this big metamorphic image. She describes her view from outside her window, “Oranges, blood red and drooping from trees. The delicious scent of burning leaves…”. It’s a big use of metaphor in words and imagery for setting. She states that “it was in an aura that I discovered my creativity”(119).

Opposing Wills

There’s a huge contrast in how will power is manifested; it is the difference in how Anita has taught Lauren to will her epilepsy away and how Lauren has willed herself to fall perfectly when pushed by an anonymous person. Through the philosopher William James, a older Lauren introduces Will A and Will B. WIll A is the “work hard”(53) kind of will, while, Will B is based more on “willingness”(53). To me it appears as if this type of willpower is more so based on the phrase, “just do it”. Lauren describes Will B as being an active over “passive”(53) power, it’s an “active acceptance, a say yes”(53). The approach in how she starts to handle things by Will Power B, starts to show the differentiation in what she was taught from her mother to what she has now learned from this epileptic school.

Before experiencing Will B, Lauren seems to make a comparison and contrast between the nuns who work at the her school and her mother, Anita. She notes, “The nuns were proper…like my mother, but also tough and handy”(48); tough and handy are traits Lauren describes exclusively to the nuns. The characteristics, Lauren uses, were to describe how hardworking the nuns were in order to achieve something that needed to be done. Lauren states, “no electricians, no cleaning ladies”, it had to be done by yourself. In comparison to the nuns, Anita seemed to talk Will A in reference of holding your head up, but displayed no such thing; She just lied as on the many occasions we last took a look at. I can see why Lauren was starting to regard her mother as this “weak”(55) person. Here, Lauren was really working hard to achieve a better epileptic life, to come home and see Anita barely doing anything with her life besides smoking and drinking. We can see why Lauren comes to question her mother’s true nature; was Anita always like this?

Lauren’s Not Lying About Lying

I just realized that chapter one is only two words. I thought it was a dedication, only without the name of whom the book is being dedicated to. The author and narrator Lauren isn’t lying, ironic statement in reference to the memoir’s title; she states, “I exaggerate”(3) and as read so far all we see is a variety of exaggerations, making things appear different than they realistically appear to be. If so far the book is about her lying mother and her first stages of epilepsy, would it be safe to say that the first chapter uses the element of foreshadowing to refer to this?

Lauren states, “from my mother I learned that the truth is bendable”(5). I find this statement to be true in regards to both the story’s mother and daughter. We see Anita lie about her life on numerous occasions. She proclaims to be a “thunder”(18) pianist, a new “house”(14) owner, and a busy painter. While she lies about the carnal things of life, Lauren experiences new “smells”(6) and the sight of “sounds”(7), symptoms usually associated with “epilepsy”(23). Though she may not be consciously making these things up, her mind sure is lying to her.

I like how Lauren describes the “secret world”(9) she enters as “dreamy”(9). She describes what she sees when phasing out into her epileptic states as “beauty [that] lived beneath the supposedly solid surface of things”(9). It was beauty beyond the concrete things we see in the life. A regular air flight turns into a spiritual moment of “getting closer to God, and gold”. She sees beyond what a non epileptic might see.

***This book reminds me of a combination of the other stories we have read so far. “Two Kinds”-the piano playing, Anita’s desire to change her daughter’s life/”The Yellow Wallpaper”-Lauren’s experiencing things the other characters have not/Lolita-like Dolores, Lauren is somewhat of a tomboy***

Lolita’s Seperation

I’m glad I finally finished Lolita. It was a difficult yet good book to read; and i’m not just saying this because the book is out of the way. Part Two, as we discussed in class, definitely had a delay to it.

I was surprised in how the book ended on Lolita’s part; it was just a simple goodbye between her and Humbert, as in we, the readers, don’t see her physically no more. Presently I accept this fact though, it was simple but emotional. The powerful statement that was suggested in between Lolita’s gropes was, “He(Cue) broke my heart. You merely broke my life”(279). I was like DAMN!!! when i read that part. Years had passed between the two; so, for Humbert to first receive a letter, stating her pregnancy by another man, and then for Lolita to crush Humbert’s dream of any “microscopic hope”(280) of their forever life together; that would definitely be considered to be a deep tear in Humbert’s life. “This book is about Lolita”(253) Humbert states, so beside all of the side nymphets, Humbert always placed Lolita on top of his wishes. Lolita was his desire, all he wanted and knew. The symbolism behind the event, was when Humbert was on his way driving from Lolita’s place, he drove away on a rainy day; rain symbolizing sadness, as he states his inability to “cope with [his]..tears”(280).

As I read their final separation, I really suspected Humbert to pull out his gun, and be on some, “If I can’t have you, no body can have you” act, killing Lolita in the process; but I guess that would make Humbert contradict what he had stated earlier, in that he “could not kill her…it was love at first sight, at last sight, at ever and ever sight”(270). That’s a serious emotion right there because Humbert even steps outside of the story, with the use of metafiction, suggesting the reader to have thought the same as I thought; Humbert kills Lolita, and in that showing just how much we know about Humbert’s love for Lolita.

Two Lolitas

Coming towards the end of the book, I’m coming to the conclusion that Humbert is an untrustworthy character. He’s playing the role of deceitful manipulator, manipulating characters for his own selfish will; the will of reconnecting with Annabel. I believe his deception even includes deceiving one of the most important characters in the book, Dolores “Lolita” Haze.

As of now, I’m starting to believe that Dolores Haze has two aspects that affect Humbert’s view of her. There’s Dolores the Body, which brings on the resemblance of Annabel and then there’s Dolores the Character, as in her characteristics–her manners. The character traits of Lolita, Dolores Haze, hold somewhat of a repulsion to Humbert. He states, “Charlotte I began to understand you”(149) as when Lolita’s mannerisms were shown to be that of a “brat”(148) while traveling on their road journey. He also states how her attitude affects his sex life with her, as it would take “hours of blandishments(persuasion),threats and promises to lend[him]…a few seconds [of] her brown limbs in the seclusion of the five dollar room…”(147).

It’s apparent that he wants to scare Dolores into quietness as she represents, “Annabel Haze, alias Dolores Lee, alias Loleeta”(167). He brings into event ,that if he should be imprisoned for statutory rape, she would be be placed into a “correctional school, the reformatory, the juvenile detention home, or one of those admirable girls’ protectories”(151).He wants to make sure her viewpoint can only benefit his possession of her, while in the process of degrading her character’s “I.Q.”(151) for not being able to figure out his plan. As read way earlier, in Part One of the book, Humbert believes that Dolores is the incarnated girl-child of Annabel. That’s why we read about how Humbert tried to “relive”(162) his days with Annabel through Dolores’s body.

Lolita’s Not Innocent

As should be known now, and as I always felt, Lolita is too advanced for her age. She rhetorically asks Humbert, “…wouldn’t mother be absolutely mad if she found out we were lovers?”(114). As seen way back in the book, it’s obvious Lolita has some type of crush on Humbert; an example being her magazine tear outs of men bearing Humbert’s “resemblance”(69). Though Humbert acts as if he is not pleased with these acts, another one of his talents, Lolita indirectly mocks his role as a “Dad”(114) in opposed to him really being her lover. It has now gotten to the point in where we see how “fond’(115) Lolita and Humbert are of each other. Lolita flirtatiously calls Humbert a “dirty man” whenever he suggest something that can be taken in a sexual manner; but hey, I guess in Lolita’s eyes she can handle a “dirty man”, as she notes herself to having been a “disgusting girl”(123) while away at camp last summer. This isn’t “innocent Annabel”(124), Lolita is a child who has had some type of sexual encounter before. Humbert notes that during a morning kiss, it was like she had been“coached”(133) by someone, most likely due to her early lesbian experience; but in regards to this kiss, it should be noted that this was not the first time, Lolita had kissed Humbert mouth to mouth. The first, I believe was in the car, in which Humbert described as an “innocent game on her part”(113); later being revealed that Lolita had “…not a trace of modesty…”(133) in her. She wasn’t an innocent child as one would probably perceive her to be. A girl her age doesn’t kiss in a professional manner nor out of curiosity ask indecent questions such as, “…you never did it when you were a kid?”(133).

Lolita Addiction

All I can say is damn, man. The ending to this section was wild but I do just want to focus on Humbert and Lolita. First off, Humbert could indeed be described as a predator(42), that is figuratively speaking of course, simply because of his fixed hunt for “prey”(42), Dolores “Lolita” Haze. In his diary, he compares himself to a spider whose “…web is spread all over the house…”(49), in hopes of catching Lolita wherever she may go. He also mentions how he sets a “trap”(48) to purposely lead Lolita into in his room, into his clutches. Yes…he’s a Lolita junkie.(I mean one of the things he found attractive in Mrs. Haze was her connection, “biologically”(76), with Lolita…He’s definitely a true addict.)

I don’t know about Lolita, that is in regards to what her intentions are. I’m wondering if she trying to lead Humbert on in anyway? Reason being placed just in the way she acts toward him, she’s playing with him too much…sort of in a flirtatious manner. We have the scene with the “apple”(58); how she’s leaning all up on him. The “hand”(51) strokes while on the way to the store, etc… It must be remembered that this is a complete stranger to Lolita. She could be “ignorant” to his caresses and lustful, nymphet “hieroglyphic” nightmares(48) but it’s clearly obvious that she has some type of affection towards him. This can be seen at the dinner table, when Mrs. Haze mocked her about going “dotty”(48) over Humbert, with more evidence being placed in her bedroom. The magazine pictures she’s ripped out, hanging above her bed, hold a close “resemblance”(69) to Humbert. An interesting belief Humbert held was that according to writers he was considered to of had all the “characteristics”(43) and features a little girl like Lolita would adore; characteristics which would jump start her pubescence. WILD!!!

Lolita’s Nymphets

The narrator, Humbert, is real descriptive in his choice of child preference. It’s not just the way he describes them physically; but how he describes them to be irresistible nymphets, as they don’t realize their own “fantastic power”(17). They’re not the most attractive child the common eye would pick out. They’re just based upon the discovery of an “artist…a madman, a creature of infinite melancholy”(17); someone with a never ending mind cycle, whose thoughts just go on and on and on. Being “lone voyagers, we nympholepts, would have long gone insane”(17) if every girl-child were a nymphet. I believe nymphs were mythical creatures who seduced sailors, voyagers, into falling for them. They were beautiful creatures with beautiful gifts, such as singing, etc… In Lolita we see that the narrator falling for them every time; a time like at “pubescent park”(21).

I feel his choice of “nymphets” are based upon Annabel’s death, directing his belief on what could be“Lolita” being the incarnation of Annabel. This must be the cause of his lustful eye towards girl-children. Humbert states, “…[Annabel] haunted me ever since-until at last, twenty-four years later, I broke her spell by incarnating her in another”(15). He describes Annabel sort of like his soul mate, in whom every time they had a “tryst”(8) they were always interrupted. The link, that bond, that supposed consecration was always interrupted; and permanently interrupted by Annabel’s death. Humbert’s perfect girl, was in the form of Annabel in which he would always remember as a child.

Side Note: Lolita is a real dictionary defined book. The narrator(Humbert) comes from a English major background, so that must be the reason why.


The Ones Who Walk Away From Omelas

As we know the city of Omelas has a twist in maintaining their joy, their festivities, their delight and beauty. “Do you believe? Do you accept the festival, the city, the joy? No? Then let me describe one more thing?”(4). This statement to me, is the turn point, the twist to the story in itself. It is the “but” or “the catch” said when something is too good to be true. It’s saying, you don’t believe me in how perfect Omelas is? Well let me describe to you the unbelievable sacrifice that must me made in order to maintain such a status…you must believe me(kind of ironic, right?). A sacrifice that is in the form of a child; a bargain, Omelas delight in exchange for the misery of a child. “Those are the terms. To exchange all goodness and grace of every life in Omelas for that single, small improvement [in the life of the child]; to throw away happiness of thousands for the chance of happiness of one…the terms are strict and absolute”(6). I like the way Omelas beauty is summed up to be incredible, so incredible to be compared to the unbelievable state of a child, “the wretched one”(6). It’s a balance between opposites: pain for joy, one for thousands. “O miracle! but I wish I could describe it better. I wish I could convince you”(2). Omelas fate is being held by the neglect of a child; all of the pain Omelas would go through is in a way thrown onto this child. The child is symbolic Omelas’s pain.