Monday, March 23, 2009

Nabokov is awesome

As is the case with most novels, a loyal connection is formed between the narrator and reader; however, with Lolita I was doubtful if I would feel the usual bond between the narrator and myself. Despite the fact that the narrator is a pedophile, Nabokov’s beautifully crafted language manages to instill a sense of connection and remorse by the reader towards the criminal.

It seems like it should be obvious that pedophilia is almost a sort of mental disorder that an individual has no control over, yet that still has never really inspired much sympathy from me. Because of Nabokov’s use of words, I am viewing Humbert’s addiction to young girls as I have never looked at pedophilia before. Humbert comes across as extremely intelligent and somehow rational. Justifying himself to the reader from his point of view works very well. It is very clear that Humbert has a problem and instead of feeling outraged and disgusted with Humbert, I feel pity and sorrow for the man.

When Humbert speaks of his “nymphets,” this never bothered me the way that it normally would. Within the first few pages, Nabokov manages to somehow make the taboo subject of sex with prepubescent girls surprisingly acceptable. The emphasis of the novel seems to be on amazingly well-written language rather than the criminal act of pedophilia and that is an awesome accomplishment. I do not think that most authors possess the skills necessary to turn one of the most frowned upon, socially unacceptable acts into an uneventful, everyday subject. I am thoroughly impressed with Nabokov’s skill.

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