Monday, March 30, 2009

Re: Humbert is an Asshole

I really liked Edgar's post. I remember reading that many people feel like what happens between Lolita and HH is, in many ways, Lolita's own fault. Even after reading the book, I don't understand that. Like Edgar said, we're only seeing things through HH's point of view, he can manipulate us however he wants. Interestingly enough, he doesn't deny that he raped her ("You know, where you raped me"), but he does seem to try and justify his obsession with nymphets throughout the book.

Even if you assume that HH was being truthful, I find it hard to believe that Lolita would be a willing participant, much less that she would have initiated the sex. As I read the book, I couldn't help wondering if Nabokov was pointing fun at Stockholm Syndrome. Stockholm Syndrome is the idea that abductees can begin to commiserate with their captors and even "switch to their side." Maybe Nabokov was using Lolita's supposed apathy to her situation to continue to make fun of psychoanalysis.

I cheated a little and read some of what Eagleton had to say about Psychoanalysis, and it has made me appreciate Nabokov's pointed satire even more. By having the pompous, idiotic, blowhard HH reference Freudian Psychology throughout the book in often ludicrous ways, Nabokov perfectly illustrates some of the ridiculous theories one can come up with if you're always looking for a symbol. The best example Nabokov's mockery is Humbert's constant blaming of his relationship with Annabel as the source of his pedophilia, as if anyone who had a relationship cut tragically short as a child would seek to fulfill that relationship later in life.

Humbert was the ultimate asshole, that's all there is to it no matter how he tries to spin it.

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