Vladimir Nabokov

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Lolita: Part 1, Chapter 14 Summary & Analysis

Humbert Humbert mentally congratulates himself on having “enjoyed” Lolita without her knowing it. He reasons that the real Lolita is not necessarily the same as the creation in his mind. That evening, Charlotte and Humbert dine alone. Lolita has gone to see a movie with the Chatfields. Charlotte takes advantage of the opportunity to flirt with Humbert, inviting him to sit out on the piazza with candles. Charlotte also tells Humbert that she’s planning to send Lolita to summer camp for three weeks. He’s so upset with this news that he goes to bed at once, pretending a toothache. Charlotte recommends the services of Doctor Ivor Quilty.
By focusing on his fantasies, rather than the reality of what has happened, Humbert convinces himself that he has not really done anything. Humbert often makes himself believe that things in his imagination are real, and that real things are only in his imagination. Humbert is totally unmoved by the sexual interest of an adult woman. The name Quilty appears numerous times in Lolita before the appearance of Clare Quilty, Humbert’s nemesis. This has something to do with the theme of patterns and fate: there are signs that Quilty is coming, long before he appears.
Perversity, Obsession, and Art Theme Icon
Life and Literary Representation Theme Icon
Women, Innocence, and Male Fantasy Theme Icon
Patterns, Memory and Fate Theme Icon