Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Pages 150-151 "I succeeded in terrorizing Lolita"

For this close reading, I put my face closer the book. Hope it works.

"Finally, let us see, what happens if you, a minor, accused of having impaired the morals of an adult in a respectable inn, what happens if you complain to the police of my having kidnapped and raped you?"

So HH starts off by reminding Lolita she is a minor. Minors may be more protected than adults but I don't Lolita is smart enough to know that. She probably does know that minors have less rights than adults. Humbert is using Lolita's ignorance.

"A minor female, who allows a person over 21 to know her carnally, involved her victim into statutory rape, or 2nd degree sodomy, depending on the technique; and the maximum penalty is ten years...."

Again, with the minor reminder. Also, Humbert paints himself as the victim here once more trying to instill a sense of guilt into Lolita. He tries to make Lolita think it is her fault.

"I go to jail. But, what happens to you, my orphan? Well, you are luckier. You become the ward of the Dept. of Public Welfare-which I'm afraid sounds a little bleak. A nice grim matron of the Miss Phalen type, but more rigid and not a drinking woman, will take away your lipstick and fancy clothes"

Except he is not really afraid it sounds bleak. Saying one thing and meaning to have the opposite effect is what Humbert is doing here. He actually draws attention to its bleakness by even mentioning it. How will a young girl ever feed her narcissism without her clothes and make up? It may sound like I'm making fun of girls and their make up, but Im not. Controlled narcissism is a good thing HH threatens Lo with the possible removal of things she takes comfort in.

"I dont know if laws relating to dependent, neglected, incorrigible and delinquent children. While I stand gripping the bars, you, happy neglected child, qill be given a choice of various dwelling places, all more or less the same..."

Humbert tells Lo she is hopeless for a normal life and tries to make her think she is the culprit of the crime. He mixes words to make a paradox to confuse Lo (happy neglected child) and removes any positive connotations from homes she would go to by calling them dwelling places and having them be presented objectively.

"...where you can knit things, and sing hymns, and have rancid pancakes on Sunday..."

Lo probably isnt the type of girl with the patience to knit or the interest in hymns (likely religious in nature). HH is trying to break Lo's spirit by making what could sound like fun and turning it into something to avoid. Pancakes? They're rancid. Sing sons? They're hymns so go get your religion on. Fun activities? Its knitting so lie still. Humbert continues his manipulation.

"Dont you think that under the circumstances Dolores Haze had better stick to her old man?"

Not sure what the intention is behind calling her by her full name but he doesnt objectify himself like he did everything else. Your old man is someone who will take care of you. Stepfather, not so much.

"By rubbing all this in, I succeeded in terrorizing Lo, who despite certain brash alertness of manner and spurts of wit was not as intelligent a child as her IQ might suggest."

Not only does he frighten a child, he insults Lo's intelligence. What a douche. I picked this passage because it just shows how big a manipulative Humbert is.

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