reading response #7 Lolita

H.H is very confident man that is persuading the jury with his “good looks”. He can have any women his age, yet he fantasizes about ” nymphets”. He is so judgmental of older women and biased. His views of nymphets are unfair way of thinking, he thinks he loves is for Lolita but it is more lust. During the party he had to excuse himself to the bathroom and had interesting thought of Lolita. Because of H.H mental history, he is afraid of watching someone else die,reason why he chases nymphets.

Crowdsourcing Humbert’s Self-Conscious Narration

As part of our reading of this Lolita (and the overall themes of this course), we are exploring the un/reliability of the narrator/narrative, the conflation of fact/fiction, the revision of memories, the reconstruction of experience, the ways in which storytellers attempt to portray their own, individual, personal truths (which may not be the same as the objective truth). Lolita is a rich text for performing a close reading around these “self-conscious” moments in the narrative. Consider the following:

Though Humbert Humbert tells readers that he is “no poet … only a very conscientious recorder” (72), we cannot forget that he has in the past been housed in many “sanatoriums” and that he is currently writing his narrative from a restricted prison library, on trial for murder.  Is he “reliable” as a narrator?  Humbert claims to produce an accurate reconstruction, “courtesy of a photographic memory” (40), but he often mentions that parts of his story are “omitted” or “amended.”  In fact, when Charlotte discovers Humbert’s secret desires for Lolita, he frankly omits his intention to change his story/lie to escape the consequences [“Rewrite.  Let her read it again.  She will not recall details.  Change, forge” (96).]  Similarly, his constant use of foreshadowing seems contrived.

And, though it is easy to forget, readers must remember that Lolita is not only a beautiful and painful memoir but also a “confession,” written by a “demented diarist” who needs to go to a “competent psychopathologist” and whose tale could be a classic “case history” in “psychiatric circles” (5).  Before we are introduced to Humbert’s voice, we come upon a “Foreword” by his lawyer, and readers’ attention is constantly called to the fact that this narrative is very much a “defense” (of both his irrational and illegal love for Lolita as well as his murder of Quilty).  He addresses his audience frequently [“Gentlemen of the jury!” (69)] and references his “criminal craving” (23) and “satanic” handwriting.  Who is his audience and what is his purpose with this memoir (keep in mind that there may be multiple audiences and purposes)? How does his self-conscious narration affect our understanding of the story? Can we trust his memoir?

In preparation for Thursday’s class (10/10), everyone should post at least one comment as a reply to this post (though I encourage many more) that provides one place in the pages we have already read (through Part One, Section 22) where Humbert explicitly draws attention (in a meta-fiction way) to the fact that he is carefully/consciously constructing a narrative and controlling his reader’s reception of the text. Your comment (reply) can be just a few sentences: provide the quote/citation and a quick explanation of how/why it functions. Feel free to post multiple comments, and also to respond to others. If you’ve already discussed some of these instances in your previous blogs, you should feel free to draw on that material.

We’ll add to these comments with each new section of the book we read, until we have a class-generated archive of all of these instances in the text.

Humbert’s Approach

Throughout the following reading assignment, Humbert had finally revealed “his” Lolita. She described it as her ad a light of first love. Throughout the story he seems desperate and sneaky in a way. He was devising ways of approaching her, but not to make it too obvious. His way seems sneaky and childish in a sense. It’s a tactic of his approach.  I’m guessing he wanted her to see him as an individual within her age group, one that she can fall in love with or relate to.

He also wanted the reader to know each and every move he was taking. At sometimes he seems like a lion stalking a pray, because of his stealthy move. He would try and slowly approach her and sneak a touch or just to have her near him. At some time he will then tries and bring her in through her own will.

Note: There was a little evidence that signifies that some of Humbert’s original diary note was discarded “not sure what you with that”.

Inappropiate or Misunderstood?

The only impression I think people have about HH is pervert, sick, needs to be locked away etc. What most people dont realize is, until they begin to look past that, theyll never see the brilliance behind the pedophile.

HH is strategic and ingenious in every aspect of his life. He makes a mockery of distinguished medical professionals just for fun. the entire time he is in Lolita’s household, he is devising a plan to get closer to her under the radar of charlottle. Charlottle is not even aware of his feelings for Lolita, she only gets hints of it because Lolita continues to make her small feelings clear. Which angers her mother because she has feelings for him. Once HH hears about summer camp, you would believe his plans would be derailed, but clever Humbert concocts another plan of how to stay in the house. He decides hhe will marry the mother and then kill her so h can be alone with Lolita forever. What was intriguing is the fact that HH discovers he cannot kill Charlotte. “Now is the time! And folks, I just couldn’t!…and still I could not make myself drown the poor, slippery, big bodied creature.” (87) He is also confused about the fact that he does not find Charlotte repulsive. It is not hard for him to have relations with her and he does not find her ugly. He thought being married to her and pretending he loved her would be torture and he woould have to picture her as Lolita’s big sister to be enticed by her, but it turned out to be surprisingly easy.

Another thing that was extremely surprising was how willingly Lolita embraced HH. “Suddenly her hand slipped into mine and without our chaperon’s seeing, I held, and stroked, and squeezed that little hot paw, all the way to the store.”(51) I believe Lolita might have a variation of the same problem HH has. When he  is admiring or touching a young girl he does not see himself as the old man that he is. He sees girls in the same way an adult would see another adult, just the seduction and admiration, not the age. Lo sees how he makes her feel not how old he really is. “Then, with perfect simplicity, the impudent child extended her legs across my lap”(58) Humbert starts touching her and she gives in so carelessly, like nothing wrong is happening. She even enjoys it. “…and she wiggled, and squirmed, and threw her head back, and her teeth rested on her glistening underlip as she half turned away.”(61)

Lolita (34-97)

    Continuing with the reading about this intriguing and disturbing memoir, Lolita is introduced to us in such an unexpected way. Humbert after checking out from a “very expensive sanatorium” (#9) went looking for a place to “spend a studious summer” (#10) in some small town in the New England countryside. He felt cure and with energy to work, but it looks like his destine put him in the path of the “enigmatic nymphets” (#10) is he was offered a teaching job with the McCoon’s daughters. The enthusiasm on his voice changed when he learned that one of the kids was a twelve year old girl. His emotion can be noticed by the repetition of two words “perfect, perfect” (#10)

    He fantasies about his new student and the subject besides French which he calls “Humbertish” (#10) His illusions and speciation’s enormous that he thought that it was his fault that the McCoon’s house got burned. The circumstances changed and his future in Ramsdale was uncertain. His disappointment made him think about leaving the town without telling anyone. His ideas changed when he saw Lolita in “the Piazza” (#10) He spends a lot of time describing her. It is really disturbing to imagine a male of that age looking at an innocent little girl and describing her with so much love in his voice. He even ask himself why he cares so much about a simple child “a mere child! –excite me so abominably?” (#11)

Lolita (34-97)

As we read more the books gets better and HH ideas of how getting Lolita gets only worst. We are introduce to Lolita and she is living where HH finds a new home to live in. When HH first sees Lolita he says there is his “Riviera love” (p39) referring to as Annabel and the love he had for her. HH claims that he had “fallen in love with Lolita forever” (p65) and he knows that Lolita is growing up and wont be at the stage of nymphet for long and soon will turn into a “young girl” and then “college girl” so he wants to take action as soon as he can. The way HH addition for Lolita is and thinks of her proves that he shouldn’t come out of that sanatorium he’s been because his illness will never go away. He’s not only going to harm Lolita but people that surrounds her due to the fact that he becomes addicted to her and wants her all to himself.

As the book goes HH ideas get dirtier and just wants to take advantage of every alone time he can with Lolita. His passion and love for Lolita get bigger that he is capable of doing anything to anybody to get what he wants. HH mind comes to point of thinking on eliminating Mrs. Haze to be able to be with Lolita and not having anyone to interfere. He shows no emotions on things that may happen to anyone surrounding him as long as he sees Lolita. For example when we see the murder of Mrs. Haze he was just thinking on getting rid of evidence that prove his dirty proof that Mrs Haze had found on proving HH dirty mind and all he thinks about after her death is being with Lolita.

Lolita 34-97

The book is actually becoming more and more interesting. I love how Lolita was introduce and how H.H change the scene into a journal in chapter 11. When H.H starts his journal it gives me much more Imagery . Such as when he goes to describe his Lo , he says “there my beauty lay down on her stomach showing me, showing the thousand eyes wide open in my blood, her slightly raised shoulder blades…….the incurvation of her spine, and the swelling of her tense narrow nates clothed in black” i picture a little girl obviously laying down with a little curved body especially going inward since he said incurvation with a black cloth. H.H using such information to describe certain thing just makes me feel more apart of the story.

Of course another thing about the chapters we had to read was when H.H was describing his first interaction with Lolita on page 57 chapter 13. He tells us how he wants the readers to very much participate with him as he describe his next scene. He even jumps into 3rd person format . what stuck out to me was when he called himself beast and called Lolita beauty. which instantly game me the thought of him being rough. “I felt proud of myself. i had stolen the honey of a spasm without impairing the morals of a minor.” ( 62)  Just a little bit i found that  disturbing for the simple fact he felt something between him and  lolita when in her mind she thought nothing of it.

Lolita

While reading pages 34-97, what stood out to me was Humbert Humbert obsession for Lolita. It struck weird because he descriptively describe each day he and Lolita got close. “Humbert Humbert is also infinitely moved by the little one’s slangy speech, by her harsh high voice”(42). Humbert’s obsession freaks me out to the point where he should be looked up for all the things he about doing. From the first time he saw Lolita, Humbert Humbert search for a nymphet was right at his hand. Due to the fact that he actually live in the same residence or house as Lolita, his inner self wants to come out.

“Suddenly her hand slipped into mine and without our chaperon’s seeing, I held, and stroked, and squeezed that little hot, all the way to the store”(51). In this scene, Humbert is forced to go to the mall with Haze because he is good with picking things out. Lolita ran into the car and sat next to Humbert. What was odd for me was the fact he said “chaperon”. Humbert is a grown man so he doesn’t need a chaperon to watch him. I felt that the reasons why he said that was the inner child he lost due to Annabel’s death. Humbert never had the chance to actually sneak his attractions for someone like a little child would do around their parents. Humbert is making up for lost childhood experiences that he suppressed in his insane mind. As they arrived to the store, Humbert acted just like a child who got something they lone for taking away from him. In his case, holding hands or “connecting” in a way with Lolita.

Lolita part one #7

” the vacuum of my soul managed to suck in every detail of her bright beauty and these i checked against the features of my dead bride” ( bottom 39) This quote confused me with the vacuum of my soul, what did he mean? Was it because he was older than the girl therefore he was taking away her youth by the touch of his hand? Also why does he try to justify them meeting as a consequence when he completely states she was a prototype. I feel he is convincing himself of not letting go of the memory of Lolita.

Lolita pages 34-97

So excited, we finally got to meet the famous Lolita 🙂 Well, once again the words in this book forever overwhelm me, but i have to give it its credit my vocabulary has been doing so much better since i started reading Lolita(Side-note)

It helps me understand more of HH character just by the way he expresses himself about women, the way he describes them. “A colored maid let me in”(page36), “The poor lady was in her middle thirties”(page37) and many more, but it just goes to show his mental state, what about being thirty would have him express himself toward her as the poor lady…thirty for some women is the best years of their lives “thirty and flirty”. HH feels that any girl that is not in their nymphet age just evolves to a hideous human being, its almost sickening the way he admires the women body at such a preadolescence and even immature state. It shows that he feeds of it and it gives him power and doesn’t feel threaten if he was ever to act on his impulses at his age.

I was really baffled by the way that things happened while i was reading, it was a lot of turn of event for HH in the way that everything seemed to be in his favor. The house burning down of the McCoos, Ms.Phalen breaking her hip in which she was suppose to occupy the room he was residing in, and finally the murder of Mrs.Haze after she realized what kind of person HH really is, when she was finally up to doing something about all of this and not let HH get his hopes up in having anything to do with Lolita, she is murdered. I mean what are the chances in one lifetime that some one especially HH to have such luck!?

The only upside is time, i like how HH is feeling tormented with time. That there is so much he can control but time isn’t one of them. I feel like he thinks he can also freeze Lolita in the time frame that she is, in the age that she is in. But i feel that this would lead to more dramatic actions from his part because he wont have all the time in the world with Lolita and its almost frighting to think what he would do.