Humbert, throughout Lolita, creates an inescapable defeat through his interactions with Lolita and his antagonist, Clare Quilty. These interactions contradict his early confidence in possessing Lolita. These characters consciously threat Humbert's exclusive relationship with Lolita. Their successful efforts, especially those of Lolita herself, against Humbert's idealized romance with Lolita stand as manifestations of inherent vulnerabilities within committed relationships, exposing a common thread between masochism and monogamy.
[...] During their initial meeting they engage in a short dialogue. Quilty begins as follows: “Where the devil did you get beg your pardon?” said: the weather is getting better.” “Seems “Who's the lassie?” daughter.” lie—she's not.” beg your pardon?” said July was hot From the very start Quilty understands Humbert's attraction to nymphettes. He possibly knows even better than Humbert considering he noticed the trait in Humbert though Humbert couldn't find the trait in him. He knows the right things to say that might off set the pedophile's sense of wrong- doing. [...]
[...] Stopped at a gas station he narrates, hardly had I turned my back to go and buy this very Lo a lollipop, than I would hear her and the fair mechanic burst into a perfect love song of wisecracks.” Here, Humbert deceives himself into expecting a grand loyalty from a negligible incentive. Using the lollipop as his first example of Lolita's ungratefulness exposes his denial of the failure of his gift-giving tactic. His gift is a well known symbol of youthful innocence—a trait he wishes Lolita to possess so that he alone can interfere with it—as well as a well known symbol of giving head. [...]
[...] I prefer to be at the mercy of a woman without virtue, fidelity or pity, for she is also my ideal, in her magnificent selfishness.” Severin and Humbert have in common a love that is symbolic of one that is so faithful that it defies conceptualization. While Humbert attempts to grasp for an impossible love, Severin realizes it by allowing himself to be possessed rather than to possess. His plan is infallible since his character is symbolic of one who hypothetically feels this impossible love. [...]
[...] On the night that Lolita and Humbert first have sex, Humbert notices Lolita's likely prior- experience, stating, kiss, to my delirious embarrassment, had made me conclude she had been coached at an early age by a little Lesbian. No Charlie boy could have taught her that.” This one example of naivety (actually selected randomly by the opening of pages) has a single similar theme to Humbert's incident with the lollipop and the mechanic. In this situation Humbert relieves himself of the painful association of Lolita with a competing male by assuming the partner of her experience was another girl. [...]
[...] As Humbert loses control of his words (“What's the katter with misses?”) he comes to describe his darling amidst a kiss in a mesh of several languages. “Seva ascendes, pusata, brulans, kitzelans, dementissima. Elecator clatterans, pausa, clatterans, populus in corridoro. Hanc nisi mors mihi adimet nemo! Juncea puellula, jo pensavo fondissime, nobserva nihil quidquam,” he says which translates to a sentence of equal incomprehensibility as the mesh of languages, sap ascendeth, pulsates, burning, itching, most insane, elevator clattering, pausing, clattering, people in the corridor. [...]
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