Vladimir Nobokov: The Women in Lolita

Topics: Pages: 5 (1823 words) / Published: Nov 16th, 2014
Vladimir Nobokov’s protagonist in Lolita portrays women as ingloriously uncouth imps. Humbert regards the women he encounters as inelegant and boorish compared to the nymphets he over which he obsesses, his repugnance towards women such as Mrs. Pratt, Charlotte Haze, and Valeria contrasts from his compassionate yearning for Annabel Leigh or Lolita. In this paper I will argue that Humbert displays such disinterest and aversion of women order to epitomize the division between the youthful innocence of nymphets and the soiled impurity he associates with age. I will examine Humbert’s relationship with Valeria, Mrs. Pratt, and Charlotte Haze in distinction and comparison of his endearment towards Lolita and Annabel Leigh while attempting to explain the connections between his diverse relationships. Ultimately, the way Humbert describes and interacts these vulgar imps reveals the foundation of his ideologies, and the fractures within his personality.
Annabel was Humbert’s first love. Annabel, although fading in Humbert’s memory, is portrayed as a vibrant, guiltless, beauty. Presumed to be a virgin, Annabel represents the innocence of youth and fragile buddings of sexuality. He claims that “we were madly, clumsily, shamelessly, agonizingly in love with each other.” Humbert was an adolescent himself at this time, both were young, naïve, and flush with new unexplained desires. Despite many attempts to be intimate, the young lovers, like Lolita, could not grasp the implications sex had to adults, “she saw the stark act merely as part of a youngster’s furtive world…what adults did for procreation was no business of hers.” Tragically, their experience was snuffed by Annabel’s abrupt death, “four months later she died of typhus.” This calamity permanently altered Humbert’s state of mind, instead of recovering from grief he fixated himself on the love he lost, “Annabel’s death consolidated… a permanent obstacle to any further romance throughout the cold years of my youth,” his

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