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Summary of Lolita

Page history last edited by dlipschitz1@... 12 years, 7 months ago

Lolita tells the story of a pedophile and his obsession with nymphets. Humbert Humbert begins his tale with an adolescent romance between him and his young love, Annabel. However, their love was not meant to be and she died of typhoid. Humbert tells of short flings with young prostitues and his many institutional stays, before ending up in Ramsdale, a small town in New England that will introduce Humbert Humbert with his object of desire, Lolita.

 

He is offered a room to rent at Charlotte Haze's residence and upon seeing Dolores (Lolita) Haze, he accepts. He spends much of his time spying on Lolita and keeping a journal of his desires for her. Charlotte decides that Lolita needs to spend time at a summer camp to free the house of her and have time to "seduce" Humbert. Charlotte leaves a note for Humbert on the morning of Lolita's departure demanding that he leave if he has no intentions of becoming more than just a tenant. Humbert sees this as an opportunity to get closer to his nymphet and plans to marry Charlotte. The two are married not long after and Humbert puts on a great act to deceive Mrs. Haze, her neighbors, and friends in order to gain their trust.

 

Over time, Charlotte becomes paranoid about Humbert's study and his locked dresser. She asks him to reveal the contents to her, but he doesn't. Charlotte eventually prys her way in and finds his diary. She is so horrified that she confronts him when he comes home and threatens that he will never see Lolita again. Humbert calmly asks her if she wants a drink and goes about making one. Charlotte instead runs from the house with letters in her hand that tell of Humbert's awful affliction. She is unfortunately hit by a car and killed in a unfortunate accident.

 

Humbert, elated of her being out of the picture, starts scheming on how to seduce his step-daughter. He drives to Camp Q to pick her up under the pretense of her mother being ill and in a hospital. They journey to the Enchanted Hunter, a motel, and Humbert decides it is time for his nymphet to finally become his. After giving lolita a sleeping pill, Humbert goes for a walk while waiting for her to fall asleep. He is confronted by a man in the dark smoking a cigarette who throws double entendres at him, a figure that will become prominent in both Humbert and Lolita's life. The man has apparantly been watching Humbert and Lolita, and he claims that Humbert is not the girls father. After his departure, Humbert returns to the room with the intention of having his way with Lolita. But he hesitates and halts his advances. Instead, he finds her in a groggy drug induced state halfway between asleep and awake. And after a time, it is Humbert who is seduced by Lolita, rather than the other way around.

 

The next morning, Humbert and Lolita begin a journey, driving around the country with Humbert acting out his desires on Lolita. He becomes increasingly comfortable with his actions, and decides to settle down in Beardsley to find work and teach Lolita some discipline. He enrolls her in a girl's school and they attempt a normal life, portraying a healthy father-daughter relationship. But the situation is everything but normal--Lolita becomes incresingly rebelious as Humbert forces her to give him 'favors' in exchange for an allowance.

 

In order to smooth things over with Lolita, Humbert lets her join the school play, since Lolita wants to be an actress. The play is entitled The Enchanted Huntress, and was written by Clare Quilty, nephew of the dentist who lived next door to the Haze's back in Ramsdale. Before opening night however, Humbert and Lolita have a terrible fight, and Lolita flees the house. Fearing that Lolita will blow their cover, Humbert races out to find her. He finds her in the local drug store, leaving a phone booth. Lolita tells Humbert that she wants to quit the play and school and resume their travels across the country. Humbert finds this idea most applealing and they set out for the journey. But immediately Humbert feels something is amiss when he notices they are being followed by a red vehicle.

 

As the trip goes on, the vehicle continues to appear, and Humbert begins to notice strangers around Lolita whenever he isn't near. Humbert becomes incresingly paranoid as the trip goes on. Meanwhile Lolita becomes ill and is put up in a hospital. Afraid that the stranger who's been following Lolita will steal her away from him, Humbert spends as much time at her side as is allowed. But unfortunately, his efforts weren't enough. While at the hospital, she and an accomplice make an escape, leaving Humbert nymphet-less and alone.

 

Retracing his steps, Humbert searchers for clues as to Lolita's kidnapper's identity in hotel logs, even asking for the assistance of a private eye. Humbert finds himself traveling with a young petite alcholic, Rita. When all of the clues lead to nowhere, he abandons hope of finding his little Lolita and settles down with Rita at an academic job. Three years after her disappearance, he receives a letter from a Mrs. Richard Schiller (aka Lolita) asking him for money. Humbert rushes to find the young child he loved was now grown, pregnant and married. He asks for the name of her kidnapper and is finally given his answer. He offers Lolita a chance to be with him again and she declines.

 

But despite being turned down, he gives her a check for a hefty sum of money, partly out of love and partly out of guilt. He then leaves to find Clare Quilty, Lolita's kidnapper, Humbert's doppelgänger. After finding Quilty drunk, and reading him a poem, Humbert finally kills Quilty for all the pain he caused Lolita in the past and present. After commiting so many great moral sins, (and getting away with them) Humbert feels he has nothing left to lose. He drives on the wrong side of the road and is picked up by police. While awaiting trial in jail he pens his story: Lolita or The Confessions of a White Widowed Male.

 

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