Thematic and Tonal Echoes of Annabel Lee in Lolita
The story of Lolita and the poem Annabel Lee exhibit similar themes and parallel one another significantly. Although both pieces were written by separate authors, there is an identical tone initially set by both Nabokov and Poe. This continues throughout the story of Lolita and as the audience, we begin to see that the characteristics of Lolita correspond to those of Annabel Lee.
Throughout Lolita, there is much textual evidence to support the conjecture that both pieces have numerous amounts of similarities. It is believed that Nabokov was inspired by Poe’s poem and that the original title for Lolita was The Kingdom By The Sea. This is an interesting comparison because the phrase “in this kingdom by the sea” is repetitively used throughout Annabel Lee and also appears in Lolita. One interpretation on the analytical aspect of this phrase is that the narrator of Annabel Lee portrays his life with Annabel as separate from all other human beings in a grand, magical world, which in turn would mean Humbert Humbert envisions the same for himself and Lolita. This can be seen when he first meets Lolita and states, “All I want to stress is that my discovery of her was a fatal consequence of the ‘princedom by the sea’ in my tortured past.” This only further proves the speculation that the narrators of both pieces see and describe their loves in similar ways. Another topic discussed was that in this magical world the narrator of both stories might imagine themselves as the king of their fantasy world and therefore have a controlling power over Annabel and Lolita. With this being said, there is textual evidence to support the hypothesis that both narrators take on the role of being controlling and obsessed with their lovers. The word “my” is used numerous times in both Lolita and Annabel Lee to foreshadow their fixation and obsessive behavior towards both characters. One example that clearly portrays this can be...
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