Obsession In Vladimir Nabokov's Lolita '

Topics: Love, Sexual intercourse, Marriage, Short story, Human sexual behavior, Human sexuality / Pages: 8 (1957 words) / Published: Mar 7th, 2016
Vladimir Nabokov’s Lolita tells the story of a deeply disturbed man’s relationship with a young girl. In the novel, the character of Humbert Humbert is on a constant quest to discover the perfect nymphet, young girls “who… reveal their true nature which is not human, but nymphic,” (Nabokov 24). Humbert heightens these girls to a sexual pedestal, stating that he “was consumed by a hell furnace of localized lust” by the mere sight of these girls (26). This obsession does not stem from birth, but from a traumatizing failure to obtain love at the age of twelve from Annabel Leigh, a girl of the same age who soon dies of typhoid. Humbert, unable to let this failed conquest go, allows this event to perpetuate itself into an obsession with young girls …show more content…
Humbert claims, “There might have been no Lolita at all had I not loved, one summer, a certain initial girl-child” (Nabokov 10). This girl-child to whom he refers is Annabel Leigh. He pursues her over the course of one season, and ultimately finds himself unsatisfied when she passes away from typhoid fever before he fulfills his love fantasy with her. Humbert claims this as the cause of his obsession with nymphets (Morton 68), having been left unsatisfied and desiring the Annabel Leigh he never obtained that summer for the rest of his life (Jenkins 214). Annabel leaves Humbert with an emptiness so that he spends the rest of his existence searching for something to fill that vacancy. That something ultimately turns out to be a deep attraction that he feels toward young girls, an attraction which manifested itself as a result of his failed love affair with Annabel. He searches for this love, “until at last, twenty-four years later, I broke her spell by incarnating her in another” (Nabokov 22). This makes it clear that Annabel is the root of his obsession with young girls, as he feels these urges as a result of his desire to fulfill the relationship he did not fulfill in that summer on the Riviera. After this failed experiment of love, Humbert is “haunted by her memory until he found her essence reincarnated in Lolita” (Adams). In fact, Lolita is not just a long-term …show more content…
After her mother’s death, Humbert takes Lolita on a trip across the country, pursuing the relationship he wants them to have. Once she gives into his desires, Humbert operates under the delusion that Lolita is the one who seduced him, ignoring the truth in favor of a romanticized ideal, when in actuality, he took advantage of her. However, even after he possesses her, despite his original beliefs that his desire would be quenched, Humbert only wants her more. That is because “he never really has her, he has only her body” (Janeway). Humbert, as a possessive and passionate man, wants more than just her body. He wants her love, as well. As a result of this phenomena, Humbert projects his own feelings onto Lolita, developing the idea that she could possibly love him as he does her. Humbert’s love story is one of self-creation (Benson 363). His twisted belief that Lolita, the girl he continuously violates and confines to his world, could possibly have true feelings for him reveals that Humbert has a deeply disturbed and deluded mental state. Humbert’s description of the events following their first night together even further emphasizes the depth of his delusion, as he is aware that Lolita does not come to him out of love, but out of necessity, saying, “she had absolutely nowhere else to go”

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