An Essay on a Passage from Lolita

Topics: Lolita, Vladimir Nabokov, Magic Pages: 3 (733 words) Published: February 7, 2013
Childhood is a time of freedom, excitement, new sensations, and joy. The sensations of childhood are experiences everyone on the planet goes through, and naturally some people find themselves wishfully reminiscing on these feelings. Such sensations are examined in depth in Vladimir Nabokov’s novel Lolita. The provided passage poignantly addresses this issue. While on its surface it appears to be merely a mellifluously worded memoir, it is actually a cleverly disguised commentary on the desire for the childhood experience. Though this is not immediately obvious, close examination of the diction of the passage reveals the central message. Nabokov includes words that accomplish several things, including evoking the magical, beautiful nature of childhood, making emotional sensations such as desire more tangible, and implying the finality of events past. Ultimately, Nabokov shows that although the sensations of childhood might be desirable, they are trapped inaccessibly in the past, no matter what one’s feelings might be.

The first thing Nabokov sets out to do is establish the fantastical, magical, exciting, wonderful nature of childhood. He achieves this most notably through his careful word choice. The passage is sprinkled with words that call to mind innocence, magic, and excitement. Some words and sections, such as “nervous,” “low stone wall,” “tender,” “slender,” and “playing cards,” serve merely to establish a tone of a childish nature. “Nervous” calls to mind the tentative, curious nature of a child, while “tender,” and “slender,” both describe certain aspects of childhood that are relatively omnipresent throughout society. “Low stone wall,” and “playing cards,” each serve as examples of those things which children might enjoy. This idea of childhood is evolved further through the use of such words as “magic,” “glitter,” “fateful,” “complex,” “boundless,” “arabesques,” and “colored inks.” These words imply the fantastic, beautiful, and wondrous world a child...
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