Some old college writing on Lolita

I found it! Some reflective writing on Lolita from a Literature class in the Spring of 2000. It's not a cool as I remembered it to be.

Nothing in the realm of fiction has broken my heart as Lolita did. I read it years ago, but felt less like Humbert Humbert then, and longed less for my innocent childhood days. At once, I mourned for Dolores’ lost innocence and despised the depraved monster that stole it. But I also found myself reading on with, I’m embarrassed to admit, a certain curiosity. Of course, my defense will be that I was being manipulated by one of the true masters of the English language, although Nabokov deems his English “second-rate.” What, I wonder, does that say about me, the trusting reader?

Lolita is also a wonderful travel novel, albeit one propelled by desperation. The descriptions of the roads, various motel rooms and inns, and the plethora of vivid characters along the way, in totality make for a brilliant illustration of early to mid-century America. Yet, with all the incredibly vivid scenery, we must constantly remind ourselves that we are witnessing the perspective of an established liar and scoundrel. I have come to realize that “modernist” writers, if that can mean anything useful, are merely attempting to offer another kind of realistic experience. After all, when in real life do we have the benefit of an omniscient narrator with no interest in the outcome of his/her story? Is it not more realistic to read the story of a man who at least reveals that he is employing all his verbal faculties in order to persuade us, the jury? Perhaps some of the literary conventions of modernism are simply a new realm of realism. Or, perhaps, after experiencing Lolita, it is necessary for both terms to be abandoned.

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