Lolita By Vladimir Nabokov Essay

1522 words - 6 pages

Can something so controversial and disguising be regarded for having merit? Many people have quarreled over this matter and formulated acute positions. Some have taken their opinions to the extreme by advocating for the removal of the distasteful topic from literature; while others argue that though the content is vulgar, there is an intended meaning the author wishes to express. I would have to side with the latter of these two positions. Vladimir Nabokov’s Lolita is one such novel that has produced concern over its questionable subject matter. On the surface, the novel tells of a fourteen year old girl becoming seduced by a middle aged man, but Lolita goes much deeper than its sexual substance. When readers look past their discrepancies, it allows them to analyze the text more open-mindedly. I will admit that to do this a high maturity level is required, which many high school students may not have developed yet. Furthermore, parents may find the piece objectionable due to religious or cultural beliefs and does not want their child open to such crudeness. In accordance to these reasons, I don’t believe Lolita should be taught in regular High School classrooms, and should only be offered to AP students and as pleasure reading.
Before forming an appropriate opinion on Lolita’s banning, basic knowledge of the text is required. The book received its title from Dolores Haze, a fourteen year old girl, who has become the object of aged Humbert Humbert’s obsessive sexual attention. Humbert falls in love with the innocent “nymphet” at first glance, and marries her mother to remain close to his real love. He begins logging dreams and fantasies of Dolores and himself in a journal, which becomes discovered by his wife who urgently wishes to warn her daughter away at camp. During her frantic flee, she is hit and killed by a reckless driver, making Humbert the official legal guardian of Dolores. With the mother gone, Humbert is able to seduce Dolores beginning a series of sexual entanglements that take the “couple” across America, until they settle down in New England. Due to his increase paranoia, Humbert begins to suspect Dolores of arranging an escape when she falls ill and requires hospitalization. However, his suspicions were accurate when he learns that Dolores was released from the hospital under the care of her “uncle.” Humbert searches desperately for his beloved but finds no trace of her, until he receives a letter from Dolores two years later informing him of her location and money struggles. Agreeing to supply her with the needed money for the name of the man who took her away, Humbert sets out to seek revenge on the Clare Quilty. The sad twisted tale ends with Humbert shooting Quilty to death and becoming jailed shortly afterwards for his murder (Nabokov, Vladimir Lolita).
The main reason for the book’s banning in 1955 was because of its controversial subject matter and questionable characters, which go against societies...

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