Vladimir Nabokov

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Lolita: Part 2, Chapter 6 Summary & Analysis

Humbert Humbert’s only real acquaintance in Beardsley is Gaston Godin, the French professor who secured him his job. He is confident that Godin is too self-absorbed and stupid to notice his molestation of Lolita. Further, he notices that Godin is always surrounded by young boys: he speculates that Godin might be something of a pervert himself. Humbert has contempt for Godin, who he regards as a mediocre charlatan of a scholar, loved by the Americans in the town because they don’t know any better. Humbert plays chess with Godin two or three times every week, and Godin is so oblivious to the details of Humbert Humbert's life that he mistakenly believes Lolita has sisters.
Humbert’s contempt for Godin, his fellow pedophile, might have something to do with the fact that Godin has something he does not: the love of the community around him. It is ironic that Humbert thinks of Godin as a “fake” scholar, given that most of his own life is an act put on to conceal his relationship with Lolita. For someone with Humbert’s detail-oriented personality, there is nothing more pathetic than Godin’s obliviousness.
Perversity, Obsession, and Art Theme Icon
Suburbia and American Consumer Culture Theme Icon
Exile, Homelessness and Road Narratives Theme Icon