Vladimir Nabokov

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Lolita: Part 2, Chapter 8 Summary & Analysis

Humbert Humbert becomes concerned as Lolita socializes more frequently with her schoolmates. Above all, he is jealously terrified of Lolita going on any dates. Though he tries to adjust, he is horrified by what is considered normal behavior for American teenagers. He reads the local newspaper’s advice column for teens, and becomes alarmed. He is relieved to notice that Lolita seems little interested in the boys around her. He reflects constantly and anxiously on the charade of his suburban life, hoping that nobody will notice its depravity and fraud.
Humbert’s prudishness is ironic and hypocritical in the extreme. He is a child molester, and yet, he is horrified by the dating culture of American teens. Humbert’s anxiety persists no matter what his situation. Before he had Lolita, he was anxious about finding ways to molest her. When he was on the road with her, he spent all his time thinking of ways to distract her. Now that he has “settled down,” with her, he lives in constant anxiety that he will be discovered or that she will develop feelings for a boy.
Perversity, Obsession, and Art Theme Icon
Suburbia and American Consumer Culture Theme Icon
Women, Innocence, and Male Fantasy Theme Icon