Lolita

Lolita

Humbert Humbert Character Analysis

The narrator of Lolita. Humbert is a highly educated, mentally unstable, literarily gifted European man with an uncontrollable desire for young girls, whom he calls “nymphets.” Humbert Humbert is extraordinarily charming, sarcastic, and seductive to both his readers and the other characters. With his book—which he writes in prison—he wants to immortalize Lolita, and to justify his perverse desires as artistic necessities. By the end of the novel, he realizes the immense pain he has caused Lolita, and repents of what he has done to her. He dies of coronary thrombosis (heart failure) while waiting for his murder trial to begin.

Humbert Humbert Quotes in Lolita

The Lolita quotes below are all either spoken by Humbert Humbert or refer to Humbert Humbert. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Perversity, Obsession, and Art Theme Icon
). Note: all page and citation info for the quotes below refers to the Vintage edition of Lolita published in 1989.
Part 1, Chapter 1 Quotes

Lolita, light of my life, fire of my loins. My sin, my soul.

Related Characters: Humbert Humbert (speaker), Lolita (Dolores Haze)
Page Number: 9
Explanation and Analysis:

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You can always count on a murderer for a fancy prose style.

Related Characters: Humbert Humbert (speaker)
Page Number: 9
Explanation and Analysis:

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Part 1, Chapter 2 Quotes

My very photogenic mother died in a freak accident (picnic, lightning) when I was three, and, save for a pocket of warmth in the darkest past, nothing of her subsists within the hollows and dells of memory...

Related Characters: Humbert Humbert (speaker)
Related Symbols: Freudian Symbols
Page Number: 10
Explanation and Analysis:

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Part 1, Chapter 5 Quotes

Between the age limits of nine and fourteen there occur maidens who, to certain bewitched travelers, twice or many times older than they, reveal their true nature which is not human, but nymphic (that is, demoniac); and these chosen creatures I propose to designate as ‘nymphets’

Related Characters: Humbert Humbert (speaker)
Related Symbols: Nymphets
Page Number: 16
Explanation and Analysis:

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Part 1, Chapter 6 Quotes

In this wrought-iron world of criss-cross cause and effect, could it be that the hidden throb I stole from them did not affect their future?

Related Characters: Humbert Humbert (speaker)
Related Symbols: Nymphets
Page Number: 21
Explanation and Analysis:

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Part 1, Chapter 8 Quotes

Quine the Swine. Guilty of killing Quilty. Oh, my Lolita, I have only words to play with!

Related Characters: Humbert Humbert (speaker), Lolita (Dolores Haze)
Page Number: 32
Explanation and Analysis:

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Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

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Part 1, Chapter 13 Quotes

Lolita had been safely solipsized.

Related Characters: Humbert Humbert (speaker), Lolita (Dolores Haze)
Page Number: 60
Explanation and Analysis:

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Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

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…and my moaning mouth, gentlemen of the jury, almost reached her bare neck, while I crushed out against her left buttock the last throb of the longest ecstasy man or monster had ever known.

Related Characters: Humbert Humbert (speaker), Lolita (Dolores Haze)
Page Number: 61
Explanation and Analysis:

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Part 1, Chapter 14 Quotes

I had stolen the honey of a spasm without impairing the morals of a minor. Absolutely no harm done. The conjurer had poured milk, molasses, foaming champagne into a young lady’s new white purse; and lo, the purse was intact.

Related Characters: Humbert Humbert (speaker), Lolita (Dolores Haze)
Page Number: 62
Explanation and Analysis:

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Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

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Part 1, Chapter 18 Quotes

But I am no poet. I am only a very conscientious recorder.

Related Characters: Humbert Humbert (speaker)
Page Number: 72
Explanation and Analysis:

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Part 1, Chapter 20 Quotes

Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, the majority of sex offenders that hanker for some throbbing, sweet-moaning, physical but not necessarily coital, relation with a girl-child, are innocuous, inadequate, passive, timid strangers who merely ask the community to allow them to pursue their practically harmless, so-called aberrant behavior, their little hot wet private acts of sexual deviation without the police and society cracking down on them.

Related Characters: Humbert Humbert (speaker)
Page Number: 87-88
Explanation and Analysis:

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Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

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Part 1, Chapter 33 Quotes

In the gay town of Lepingville I bought her four books of comics, a box of candy, a box of sanitary pads, two cokes, a manicure set, a travel clock with a luminous dial, a ring with a real topaz, a tennis racket, roller skates with high white shoes, a portable radio set, chewing gum, a transparent raincoat, sunglasses, some more garments—swooners, shorts, all kinds of summer frocks. At the hotel we had separate rooms, but in the middle of the night she came sobbing into mine, and we made it up very gently. You see, she had absolutely nowhere else to go.

Related Characters: Humbert Humbert (speaker), Lolita (Dolores Haze)
Related Symbols: Motels and Rented Houses
Page Number: 141-142
Explanation and Analysis:

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Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

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Part 2, Chapter 1 Quotes

Mentally, I found her to be a disgustingly conventional little girl. Sweet hot jazz, square dancing, gooey fudge sundaes, musicals, movie magazines and so forth—these were the obvious items in her list of beloved things.

Related Characters: Humbert Humbert (speaker), Lolita (Dolores Haze)
Page Number: 148
Explanation and Analysis:

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Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

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If some café sign proclaimed Icecold Drinks, she was automatically stirred, although all drinks everywhere were ice-cold. She it was to whom ads were dedicated: the ideal consumer, the subject and object of every foul poster.

Related Characters: Humbert Humbert (speaker), Lolita (Dolores Haze)
Page Number: 148
Explanation and Analysis:

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Part 2, Chapter 2 Quotes

My only grudge against nature was that I could not turn my Lolita inside out and apply voracious lips to her young matrix, her unknown heart, her nacreous liver, the sea-grapes of her lungs, her comely twin kidneys.

Related Characters: Humbert Humbert (speaker), Lolita (Dolores Haze)
Page Number: 165
Explanation and Analysis:

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Part 2, Chapter 3 Quotes

We had been everywhere. We had really seen nothing. And I catch myself thinking today that our long journey had only defiled with a sinuous trail of slime the lovely, trustful, dreamy, enormous country that by then, in retrospect, was no more to us than a collection of dog-eared maps, ruined tour books, old tires, and her sobs in the night—every night, every night—the moment I feigned sleep.

Related Characters: Humbert Humbert (speaker), Lolita (Dolores Haze)
Related Symbols: Motels and Rented Houses
Page Number: 175
Explanation and Analysis:

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Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

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Part 2, Chapter 7 Quotes

O Reader! Laugh not, as you imagine me, on the very rack of joy noisily emitting dimes and quarters, and great big silver dollars like some sonorous, jingly and wholly demented machine vomiting riches; and in the margin of that leaping epilepsy she would firmly clutch a handful of coins in her little fist, which, anyway, I used to pry open afterwards unless she gave me the slip, scrambling away to hide her loot.

Related Characters: Humbert Humbert (speaker), Lolita (Dolores Haze)
Page Number: 184
Explanation and Analysis:

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Part 2, Chapter 16 Quotes

I felt instinctively that toilets—as also telephones—happened to be, for reasons unfathomable, the points where my destiny was liable to catch.

Related Characters: Humbert Humbert (speaker)
Page Number: 211
Explanation and Analysis:

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Part 2, Chapter 17 Quotes

We must remember that a pistol is the Freudian symbol of the Ur-father’s central forelimb.

Related Characters: Humbert Humbert (speaker)
Related Symbols: Freudian Symbols
Page Number: 216
Explanation and Analysis:

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Part 2, Chapter 21 Quotes

Who can say what heartbreaks are caused in a dog by our discontinuing a romp?” (238)

Related Characters: Humbert Humbert (speaker)
Page Number: 238
Explanation and Analysis:

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Part 2, Chapter 23 Quotes

We all admire the spangled acrobat with classical grace meticulously walking his tight rope in the talcum light; but how much rarer art there is in the sagging rope expert wearing scarecrow clothes and impersonating a grotesque drunk! I should know.”

Related Characters: Humbert Humbert (speaker)
Page Number: 249
Explanation and Analysis:

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Part 2, Chapter 25 Quotes

It is not the artistic aptitudes that are secondary sexual characters as some shams and shamans have said; it is the other way around: sex is but the ancilla of art.”

Related Characters: Humbert Humbert (speaker)
Related Symbols: Freudian Symbols
Page Number: 259
Explanation and Analysis:

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Part 2, Chapter 29 Quotes

I could not kill her, of course, as some have thought. You see, I loved her. It was love at first sight, at last sight, at ever and ever sight.

Related Characters: Humbert Humbert (speaker), Lolita (Dolores Haze)
Page Number: 270
Explanation and Analysis:

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Part 2, Chapter 35 Quotes

We rolled all over the floor, in each other’s arms, like two huge helpless children. He was naked and goatish under his robe, and I felt suffocated as he rolled over me. I rolled over him. We rolled over me. They rolled over him. We rolled over us.

Related Characters: Humbert Humbert (speaker), Clare Quilty
Page Number: 299
Explanation and Analysis:

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Part 2, Chapter 36 Quotes

I am thinking of aurochs and angels, the secret of durable pigments, prophetic sonnets, the refuge of art. And this is the only immortality you and I may share, my Lolita.

Related Characters: Humbert Humbert (speaker), Lolita (Dolores Haze)
Page Number: 309
Explanation and Analysis:

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Humbert Humbert Character Timeline in Lolita

The timeline below shows where the character Humbert Humbert appears in Lolita. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Foreword
Perversity, Obsession, and Art Theme Icon
Life and Literary Representation Theme Icon
...not name him or specify his crime, referring to him instead by his chosen pseudonym: Humbert Humbert. He explains that every name in the manuscript has been changed—a few by him,... (full context)
Part 1, Chapter 1
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Women, Innocence, and Male Fantasy Theme Icon
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Humbert Humbert begins his manuscript by repeating the name Lolita in various ways, lingering on the... (full context)
Part 1, Chapter 2
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Humbert Humbert explains his background and upbringing. His heritage includes a “salad of racial genes,” from... (full context)
Part 1, Chapter 3
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At thirteen, Humbert Humbert has his first romance. The girl is Annabel, the daughter of a family friend.... (full context)
Part 1, Chapter 4
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Women, Innocence, and Male Fantasy Theme Icon
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Humbert Humbert asks himself what connection there might be between his young romance with Annabel and... (full context)
Part 1, Chapter 5
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Humbert Humbert discusses his young adulthood. He spends a few years as a college student in... (full context)
Part 1, Chapter 6
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Humbert Humbert wonders what happened to the nymphets he visually enjoyed but never touched, speculating that... (full context)
Part 1, Chapter 7
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Sometime after his escapades in Paris, Humbert Humbert decides to marry, hoping that marital sex and domestic life will help him to... (full context)
Part 1, Chapter 8
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Humbert Humbert describes his brief marriage to Valeria, which lasts from 1935 to 1939. Though she... (full context)
Part 1, Chapter 9
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Returning to his past, Humbert Humbert recounts his migration to New York City, which he makes after a long stay... (full context)
Part 1, Chapter 10
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Released from the sanatorium, Humbert Humbert plans a move to New England. He arranges to board in a town called... (full context)
Part 1, Chapter 11
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Humbert Humbert recopies—from memory—two weeks of entries from a diary he kept at the Haze’s in... (full context)
Part 1, Chapter 12
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Finishing with his diary, Humbert Humbert complains of the frustration he felt at being so close to Lolita, while remaining... (full context)
Part 1, Chapter 13
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Humbert Humbert and the Hazes are scheduled to go for a lakeside picnic with another family,... (full context)
Part 1, Chapter 15
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Although she doesn’t want to go, Charlotte sends Lolita off to summer camp. Humbert Humbert, distraught, considers leaving the house until she returns. He fantasizes about masquerading as a... (full context)
Part 1, Chapter 16
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As Charlotte drives Lolita to Camp Q, Humbert Humbert dashes off to look through his nymphet’s underwear. In her room, he discovers two... (full context)
Part 1, Chapter 17
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Humbert Humbert is at first horrified by the letter, but comes to realize that marrying Charlotte... (full context)
Part 1, Chapter 18
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Humbert Humbert and Charlotte are married in a quiet ceremony. They are interviewed for a society... (full context)
Part 1, Chapter 19
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Charlotte makes Humbert Humbert tell her all the details of his love life to date, encouraging him to... (full context)
Part 1, Chapter 20
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Humbert Humbert and Charlotte go for a swim at the Hourglass Lake. On the walk from... (full context)
Part 1, Chapter 21
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With Lolita off at camp, Humbert Humbert and Charlotte spend the months of June and July together in Ramsdale. Humbert is... (full context)
Part 1, Chapter 22
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Pretending he has insomnia, Humbert Humbert convinces the Haze family doctor to prescribe him sleeping pills. He tests these pills... (full context)
Part 1, Chapter 23
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Humbert Humbert goes outside to view the scene of the accident. While crossing the street to... (full context)
Part 1, Chapter 24
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John and Jean Farlow help Humbert Humbert to load up his belongings for the trip to fetch Lolita. Just before he... (full context)
Part 1, Chapter 25
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Humbert Humbert drives to Camp Q to pick up Lolita. He is anxious, fearing that Lolita... (full context)
Part 1, Chapter 26
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Humbert Humbert takes a brief break from telling his story to complain of his headaches and... (full context)
Part 1, Chapter 27
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Humbert Humbert picks up Lolita at Camp Q. He tells her that Charlotte is very sick,... (full context)
Part 1, Chapter 28
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As he waits for Lolita to fall asleep, Humbert Humbert walks through the hotel. He reaches a pinnacle of happiness as he realizes that... (full context)
Part 1, Chapter 29
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Humbert Humbert returns to the room to molest Lolita. To his surprise, she wakes up easily;... (full context)
Part 1, Chapter 30
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Humbert Humbert envisions himself repainting The Enchanted Hunters’ dining room to suit his erotic fantasies. He... (full context)
Part 1, Chapter 31
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Humbert Humbert tries to explain the strange mixture of the “bestial and the beautiful,” in his... (full context)
Part 1, Chapter 32
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Later in the morning, Lolita tells Humbert Humbert about her first sexual experience, which took place at Camp Q. It started when... (full context)
Part 1, Chapter 33
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Lolita is shocked at the news of her mother's death. To calm her down, Humbert Humbert buys Lolita toys, clothes and baubles. She and he take separate rooms at the... (full context)
Part 2, Chapter 1
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Lolita and Humbert Humbert spend the next year (August 1947 to August 1948) traveling across the country. They... (full context)
Part 2, Chapter 2
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Humbert Humbert goes into greater detail about his year of travels with Lolita. He sarcastically lists... (full context)
Part 2, Chapter 3
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Still describing his year of travels with Lolita, Humbert Humbert explains how at one point he tries to recreate his childhood beachside love with... (full context)
Part 2, Chapter 4
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Humbert Humbert and Lolita move into a house in Beardsley. When he goes to speak to... (full context)
Part 2, Chapter 5
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Living in a fixed location with Lolita for the first time, Humbert Humbert becomes anxious about his neighbors, all of whom strike him as too curious about... (full context)
Part 2, Chapter 6
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Humbert Humbert’s only real acquaintance in Beardsley is Gaston Godin, the French professor who secured him... (full context)
Part 2, Chapter 7
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Women, Innocence, and Male Fantasy Theme Icon
Lolita devises a way of taking advantage of Humbert. She demands more and more pocket money and favors in exchange for affectionate caress or... (full context)
Part 2, Chapter 8
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Humbert Humbert becomes concerned as Lolita socializes more frequently with her schoolmates. Above all, he is... (full context)
Part 2, Chapter 9
Women, Innocence, and Male Fantasy Theme Icon
Lolita makes friends with the girls in her school. Humbert enjoys their presence at the house, finding that Lolita’s attractiveness is enhanced by her having... (full context)
Part 2, Chapter 11
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One day, Headmistress Pratt calls Humbert Humbert in to discuss Lolita’s worrying behavior at school. She is worried that Lolita is... (full context)
Part 2, Chapter 12
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After she recovers from a fever, Humbert allows Lolita to have a “Party with Boys,” in the house. Every ten or twenty... (full context)
Part 2, Chapter 13
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Humbert Humbert notes the coincidence between the name of the play and the name of the... (full context)
Part 2, Chapter 14
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Humbert Humbert learns that Lolita has begun skipping piano lessons. He becomes so anxious that he... (full context)
Part 2, Chapter 15
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Humbert Humbert fixes up the car for a long trip, telling Lolita’s school that he’s been... (full context)
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Humbert tells Lolita how happy he is that she’s given up the play. Nevertheless, he can’t... (full context)
Part 2, Chapter 16
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Humbert Humbert and Lolita leave Beardsley and drive west. They go through a town close to... (full context)
Part 2, Chapter 17
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Growing suspicious of Lolita and the plan of the trip she has made, Humbert decides to stay at the Chestnut Court motel for another night. He feels that his... (full context)
Part 2, Chapter 18
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Humbert Humbert and Lolita travel farther west. A red Aztec Convertible begins following them on the... (full context)
Part 2, Chapter 19
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Humbert Humbert and Lolita stop in Wace, where Humbert has set up a P.O. box in... (full context)
Part 2, Chapter 20
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Humbert Humbert regrets that he ever allowed Lolita to learn acting—all it did was help her... (full context)
Part 2, Chapter 21
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Humbert Humbert is going mad with anxiety. He expects Lolita to try and escape from him... (full context)
Part 2, Chapter 22
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At a motel in Elphinstone, Lolita falls ill with a fever. Humbert Humbert takes her to a nearby hospital, where she stays overnight. Humbert spends a sleepless... (full context)
Part 2, Chapter 23
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Humbert Humbert spends nearly four months trying to track down the man Lolita ran off with.... (full context)
Part 2, Chapter 24
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Back in Beardsley, Humbert Humbert tries to figure out who the kidnapper might be. He thinks he’s narrowed it... (full context)
Part 2, Chapter 25
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Without Lolita, Humbert Humbert falls into despair. Over the next few years, he throws away or donates Lolita's... (full context)
Part 2, Chapter 26
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Humbert Humbert becomes involved with a woman named Rita, a kind but not particularly intelligent alcoholic... (full context)
Part 2, Chapter 27
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Humbert Humbert receives two letters which have been forwarded to his Cantrip apartment. The first is... (full context)
Part 2, Chapter 28
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The very next day, Humbert Humbert leaves for “Coalmont,” the town where Lolita and her new husband live, bringing his... (full context)
Part 2, Chapter 29
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Humbert Humbert rings the doorbell, and “Dolly Schiller,” answers the door. She is older—no longer a... (full context)
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Lolita and Humbert sit down in the living room. He demands she tell him the identity of the... (full context)
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Humbert is heartbroken when Lolita comments that Quilty is the only man she ever loved. Humbert... (full context)
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As Humbert prepares to go, he pleads with Lolita to come with him. She thinks he’s asking... (full context)
Part 2, Chapter 30
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Humbert Humbert leaves Coalmont and drives toward Ramsdale. In a secluded spot along the way, he... (full context)
Part 2, Chapter 31
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At a rest stop between Coalmont and Ramsdale, Humbert Humbert recalls a conversation about religious transcendence he once had with a priest in Quebec.... (full context)
Part 2, Chapter 32
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Newly conscious of ruining Lolita’s childhood, Humbert meditates on moments when he noticed but coldly ignored her pain. He remembers her hopeless... (full context)
Part 2, Chapter 33
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Humbert Humbert returns to Ramsdale. Ghostlike, he haunts the places he used to frequent when he... (full context)
Part 2, Chapter 34
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Humbert Humbert leaves Ramsdale and drives to Clare Quilty’s house—Pavor Manor—on Grimm Road. He arrives at... (full context)
Part 2, Chapter 35
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The morning of the next day, Humbert Humbert oils his gun and drives to Pavor Manor, murder on his mind. He knocks... (full context)
Part 2, Chapter 36
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Humbert Humbert departs Quilty’s manor. He leaves his raincoat and the murder weapon behind. No longer... (full context)