12 Nov 2008

Essays on Lolita

Few books have earned such undeserved reputations as that which hangs over Vladimir Nabokov’s “Lolita,” written in 1955. Lolita has a reputation as a pro-pedophile novel, yet when read reveals a staunchly anti-pedophile position. It’s protagonist and narrator, Humbert Humbert, offers the story of Lolita not as an effort to brag or as encouragement for others to repeat, but as a confession and an apology for his crime … that of stealing Lolita’s childhood innocence.

The history of Lolita serves as an extreme example of the dangers of arbitrary censorship. Because of the book being banned, an entire mystique arose around the novel, a mystique that has survived to this very day, half a century after its first publication.

Lolita reveals the obsessive extremes that men such as Humbert Humbert will go in their personal quests for fulfillment of the sexual cravings, regardless of how inappropriate or even illegal those cravings might be. Even the responses of Clare Quilty (the true villain of Lolita, if one must point to a particular one) as Humbert Humbert is shooting him during the book’s climax reflects the lack of self-esteem most such men possess.

Contrary to its reputation, Lolita is a scathing attack against pedophiles (those sexually attracted to pre-pubescent minors) and ephebophiles (those sexually attracted to adolescent minors), showing their tendencies towards self-destructive actions, even when their sexual cravings are being met. At very worst, Lolita is an expose on the ultimate truth that such behavior is but a symptom of much deeper problems.

  • One of Lolita’s most controversial aspects is the manner in which Lolita, Humbert’s victim, comes to use his sexual obsession with her to manipulate him. Write an opinion of this, arguing for or against its realism and back up your position with supportive references.
  • After initially struggling with censorship and attempts to ban it, Lolita has come to be considered one of the most significant novels of the 20th century. Why would it be considered such? Were the initial censorship and ban attempts justified and why or why not?

Almost universally, authors like Nabokov cite works that took them far from their typical genres as their favorite successes, such as Nabokov’s “Lolita.” Rationally critiquing controversial topics like those in Lolita takes special dedication to such writing. Professional writers, such as those working for our company, can handle even this level of controversial topics with detached professionalism. Contact us today for more information.

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