Monday, March 30, 2009

Why does Lolita have to be a brat?

While reading Lolita, I thought it was really interesting that the child is truly a total, annoying brat. No matter the situation, it is always easier to gather sympathy when the person in question is kind and genuine. In the beginning of the book, Lolita is portrayed as an ill mannered pre teen by her mother, but Charlotte’s portrayal is taken with a grain of salt, because Charlotte seems bitter, bizarre, and ultimately not a valid source of information. Any mother who calls her daughter names and wants to send her away as often as possible is not someone whose opinion should be highly regarded. I dismissed Lolita’s attitude problem until Humbert, a man who is insanely in love with the girl and recognizes only her positive qualities, writes that Lolita has a major attitude problem. It would have been easier for Nabokov to make Lolita into a sweet, obedient child than make one of the main characters into a nuisance. Why is Lolita written to be a brat?

At one point, soon after Humbert and Lolita begin their year long road trip and rape, Humbert writes that Lolita turned out to be more of a handful than he expected. …”Lolita, when she chose, could be a most exasperating brat. I was not quite prepared for her fits of disorganized boredom, insane and vehement griping, her sprawling, droopy, dopey-eyed style, and what is called goofing off-a kind of diffused clowning which she thought was tough in a boyish hoodlum way.” (pg. 148) The man saying these words is madly in love with every inch of this girl and still, he takes detailed notes of her sour attitude. I was really at a loss as to why Lolita had to be portrayed as an angst-filled prepubescent and it got me thinking. Maybe Lolita’s bad attitude makes the situation seem more real. Humbert’s adoration of Lolita is almost too much and too far; a little unrealistic. So, by making her character into a little bitch, it’s clear that Lolita is human and has flaws. It also makes Humbert’s love for Lolita even more intense, because only someone who is absolutely and completely in love with someone is capable of overlooking unappealing character flaws.

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