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Does "Lolita" glorify pedophilia?
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Nabokov's goal was to demonstrate the negative aspects of obsession, not praise them

Nabikov’s main character is meant to cause the reader to look past his seemingly harmless facade to see the actual disturbed behavior underneath.

The Argument

The use of an illicit relationship between an adult man and a child is meant to grab the reader’s attention so that they are unable to look away from the disturbing obsession that Humbert Humbert maintains with lust, possession, and the objectification of another person -- in his mind, a nymphet, or an object rather than a real person. His desire becomes all-consuming and alludes to a very real desire that American society creates for youth, especially in regard to sexualizing youth. While the subject matter may be considered perverse, it is used as a literary plot device, not to glorify Humbert Humbert’s actions or behavior, but to illustrate the disturbed obsession and crippling selfishness of a person, and the lengths they are willing to go to satisfy their desires -- even if it means the destruction of themselves and someone else. [1]

Counter arguments

Nabokov himself stated that there is no moral to the story of Lolita, and that he wrote it merely for “aesthetic bliss.” The common interpretation by the literary world that it is some deeply thoughtful masterpiece completely ignores the author’s intent and the fact that the book so easily allows the reader to empathize with a middle-aged man’s perverse sexual obsession and abuse of a child. [2]



Rejecting the premises


This page was last edited on Monday, 12 Oct 2020 at 01:42 UTC