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Symbols, Important Quotes and Key Facts Lolita

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The Theatre: The theatre is symbolic of artistry and artifice. Humbert blames Lolita’s newly learned ability to lie on her participation in a school play. Quilty uses that same school play to convince Lolita to come with him. Lolita is drawn to the theatre because of Quilty. This is particularly upsetting for Humbert, as he had never placed much interest in any of Lolita’s artistic attempts.

Prison: Despite having written Lolita from the cells of a prison, Humbert’s confinement started long before he murdered Quilty.  From the very moment he lost his beloved Annabel, and realized his love for young girls, Humbert became a prisoner of his own actions.

Knowing full well that his desires were forbidden by society, this required him to create a respectable persona in order to shade himself from the outside world. Nabokov also uses prison to symbolize Humbert’s secret persona. He is initially imprisoned by his taboo love for young girls, and then by his love for Lolita. Towards the end of the book, Humbert has defied all of the rules and manages to escape his internal confinement.

Important Quotes

“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.”

Final paragraph, in Part Two, Chapter 3, offers a summary of Humbert’s confusion with his new homeland and his tumultuous relationship with the young Lolita.

Key Facts

Title: Lolita
Written by: Vladimir Nabokov
Type of writing; Novel
Genre: Tragic comedy
Language: English
Time of writing: 1949-1955, New York
Published By: Olympia Press

Narrated by: Humbert Humber, from the cell of his prison, roughly five years after the events occurred. The foreword is narrated by John Ray Jr., Ph.D.

Point of View: Humbert Humbert speaks of his love affair with Lolita, in first person. He focuses only on his own emotions and thoughts.

Setting: 1947 – 1952, South of France and the United States of America

Google Description: Lolita, the psychological masterpiece of the great Russian-American writer Vladimir Nabokov, follows the sordid love affair that Humbert Humbert has with pre-teen girl, Lolita. The book is regarded for is controversial subject and has been the inspiration for several movies.

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