Lolita By Vladamirs Nabokov Essay

2281 words - 10 pages

Vladamirs Nabokov’s novel titled Lolita explores the taboo topic of pedophilia and obsession. Humbert Humbert, the main character, has always had a strong attraction to young girls around the ages twelve to thirteen or nymphets as he likes to call him. He watches them play in the park, likes to look at pictures of Girl Scouts and enjoys watching them swim in the pool. Humbert reflecting on his life tries to justify his actions that have landed him in jail by writing them down in a manuscript. He writes to his readers about how he met Lolita, the twelve year old daughter of his landlady, and chronicles how he constantly fantasies about fondeling her body and eventually taking sexual action ...view middle of the document...

Humbert believes this experience is when his sexual interest in children onset. This explanation is consistent with the Diagnostic and Statistical Manuel of Mental Disorders 5th edition (DSM-V) which states that adults with pedophilic disorder become aware of developing a strong sexual interest in children around the time they hit puberty (2013). However thirteen-year-old Humbert’s sexual interest in twelve to thirteen-year-olds is considered age appropriate and he couldn’t be diagnosed as a pedophile until he is at least 16 years of age. The DSM-V also states that pedophilia appears to be a lifelong condition (American Psychiatric Association, 2013) and the novel supports this by showing Humbert’s obsession with prepubescent girls and especially with Lolita until the day he dies of a heart attack.
Cultural and Gender Considerations:
The novel doesn’t spend much time taking cultural and gender considerations into account. However, it is consistent by making Humbert a male since the DSM-V states that the highest prevalence for male pedophiles in the population is about 3%-5% and that prevalence for female pedophiles is more uncertain (American Psychiatric Association, 2013). Humbert spends a lot of time arguing that in East India marriage before the age of puberty is not uncommon and states that men as old as eighty will copulate with girls of eight however the DSM-V and other research haven’t reciprocated this statement.
There are many causes provided as to why an adult could develop pedophilia. Some sources provide single reasons such as past sexual abuse as a child or a possible genetic influence (American Psychiatric Association, 2013). Other theories relay on a multifactor model. One study titled Explanations of Pedophilia: A Four Factor Model describes many theories as an explanation of pedophilia (Araji and Finkelhor, 1986). The first factor is titled emotional congruence and tries to provide answers as to why a pedophilic adult feels an emotional need to connect to a child. There are many theories to explain this. One theory suggests a pedophile has low self-esteem and relating to a child gives them power and dominance. Other theories stipulate that a relationship with a child gives the pedophile a chance to overcome the sense of powerlessness they felt when they were abused as a child or that the pedophile remains in love with the child that he once was and in turn makes children love objects (Araji and Finkelhor, 1986). The only theory that could possibly apply to Humbert is that he was in love with the child he used to be. He is often quite nostalgic of his past and yearns to recreate moments from his childhood with Lolita by showing her pictures of where he grew up and by attempting to find a beach similar to the one he attempted to sleep with Annabel his first love. Humbert didn’t suffer any abuse as a child and he definitely does not have any self esteem issues as he reminds his reader throughout the novel that...

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