Vladimir Nabokov

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Lolita: Part 2, Chapter 10 Summary & Analysis

Lolita begins to develop contempt and disdain for Humbert. Whenever he approaches her, even to express affection, she assumes he wants sex and becomes disgusted. Humbert gives an example of such an incident: when he crawls on his knees to nuzzle Lolita’s skirt, she tells him to leave her alone and makes fun of his facial expression.
Although we have no reason to doubt the truth of the story in this chapter, we must be aware that Humbert is using it to win our sympathy. He presents himself as the victim, and Lolita as the cruel mistress. In this way, he casts his rape and abuse of Lolita as, instead, a kind of pastoral, a literary genre in which a lovelorn man is mistreated by his haughty beloved.
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