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What a rip! I had heard so much about this book, but it is just about a perv that falls in lust/love with a little girl. You never know the real story because you don't know how truthful the narrator is. I admire some of its literary merits, but overall, I would have been better off reading something else.
When I pointed this out in another website's forum someone responded with "Oh, she definitely was a minx. She exploited his weaknesses."
I heard that the leading cause of death for pregnant women is murder, and if population size is taken into consideration the U.S. is number one in deaths per pregnant women per capita. Crazy.
That's a myth that's been floating around for a long time (an alternate version being the number one cause of birth defects being domestic violence against pregnant women). It's blantantly untrue, and was first introduced by the director of some prominent feminist organization (I can't remember which, I think it's NOW). It's sad that this myth still persists. **
I believe the leading cause of death for pregnant women is preenclampsia in the US, and malaria worldwide.
**Although I think there is a state in the US where the leading cause of death among pregnant women is murder. But it's not a nationwide statistic. Muder is the number one cause of *injury related* deaths.
The leading cause of death in pregnant women is hemorrhage (usually induced by preenclampsia).
"2005 study by the American Journal of Public Health reported that 31 percent of all pregnancy deaths between 1991 and 1999 were the result of homicide. Only pregnancy-related complications ranked higher as a cause of death."
The full story is found at :
Of course, as with any statistics, different sides of the story look at the numbers differently ...
I was responding to the statement-
the leading cause of death for pregnant women is murder
Which is highly misleading, of course. As I even said in my post, murder is certainly the number one cause of *injury related* deaths.
However, even that is misleading if you don't have all the facts. One of the facts being that between 30-40% of pregnant women murdered are less than a month into pregnancy, when it's unlikely that they were even aware they were pregnant yet (which leads to the conclusion that the murder was unrelated to the pregnancy). Another thing to take into consideration is the ratio of male to female murderers. Honestly, how often do we hear about some whackjob woman trying to cut a baby out of a woman?
It's the twisting of facts that irritates me, as it takes attention away from the real issues, and perpetrates some militant feminist agenda (male=bad).
On the plus side, he did kill a pervert that was a thousand times worse than himself.
9days- Do you mean Quilty? It's been a while...was he worse than Humbolt?
As I got older, I saw it happen a surprising number of times. Not with 14 year olds or whatever (though you can find that in the news too) but college professors who either dated their students or ran off with them after the student graduated (this was considered the more socially acceptable way). This is both male and female teachers. To my disappointment, I learned that Humbert is not an exception. He is a type.
As for the novel, when I read it, I thought it was pretty gross and couldn't recommend it to anyone. I might call it a dark comedy. Humbert is meant to be laughed at and condemned, this foolish old French professor doing ghastly things. I would note also that, in the end, his and Lolita's behavior has caused a great deal of bad consequences in their lives. We see the destruction of innocence, for example, along with selfishness and lust.
I might argue, therefore, that the novel has a strong moral backbone. It seems obvious, of course: Who would defend Humbert? And yet, as I suggested, he remains a type of person who is very much with us, perhaps even one whose numbers are increasing.
From my own experience: Two music teachers from my grade schools were arrested for child molesting. One high school coach ran off with a student. I can think of at least two college professors who had relations with students while they were students, another who ran off with a student -- and that was at a very small college. Then there was my Shakespeare professor in graduate school, a native born Brit, who asked me delicately in his office whether I would be interested in the fine old English tradition of buggery.
At least he asked.
And while I'm not condoning it, I think that is different than a college professor being romantically interested in his legally aged students.
I believe she has a child. I don't remember.
#17- She actually dies in childbirth, and I think she's still in her 'teens.
You're not alone. I tend to read it more as a novel about obsession than about sexual perversity.
I think that because of the controversy the book causes (and has always caused) people tend to lose sight of the more important and interesting aspects of the story.
For instance, most people ask why someone would do what Humbert does. If people didn't focus on the sexual aspects, they'd notice he gives the answer to that himself (his first love died when she was around Lolita's age).
How can I overlook it? I can't. My eyes work, I've read the story. There's a world of difference between 'overlook' and 'not focus on'. There's more than sex in the book.
I'm also able to read Moby Dick without becoming morally outraged about whaling.
In the predominant sex crime scenario, doesn’t involve violence, stranger molesters posing online as other children in order to set up an abduction or assault. Only five percent of these cases actually involved violence. Only three percent involved an abduction. It’s also interesting that deception does not seem to be a major factor. Only five percent of the offenders concealed the fact that they were adults from their victims. Eighty percent were quite explicit about their sexual intentions with the youth that they were communicating with.
So these are not mostly violence sex crimes, but they are criminal seductions that take advantage of teenage, common teenage vulnerabilities. The offenders lure teens after weeks of conversations with them, they play on teens’ desires for romance, adventure, sexual information, understanding, and they lure them to encounters that the teams know are sexual in nature with people who are considerably older than themselves.
Go here to read a full transcript of the conference, which has more about the teenager's side of it and what they think we can do to stop kids from getting into these situations.
Actually, in terms of fiction glamorizing criminals, I think there's far far more of it involving violent criminals than sexual ones ... just look at the Sopranos and all those movies and books that glamorize the mafia lifestyle ... I really don't think there was much glamor to Humbert.
I also don't think the book is in any way glamorizing pedophila. It might be romantisized, again by some readers, but that hardly could have been the author's intent.
The main characters are all human beings with good and bad traits. I am amused by Humbert's wit and intelligence but dislike his egoism and immorality. I empathise with his desire for Lolita but I don't think that that condones his actions.
Sometimes a story will have a character who has some contemptible character trait, such as paedophilia or racism or drug addiction, and the author will present that character realistically, that is as a human being with some admirable aspects, rather than as a stereotypical Bad Guy. I've always found that in this case the author will show the unhappy consequences of the character's bad side, and it's clear to me that the author is condemning that aspect of their character. But this is too subtle for some readers, who think that the story is glamourising or condoning something.
I don't think Lolita has ever had any bad effect on anyone who's read it, so it doesn't disturb me at all, but what I do sometimes find disturbing is media aimed at adolescents that present it as normal or desirable for them to be sexy and flirtatious.
There is a novel called Roger Fishbite by Emily Prager which I really enjoyed. It's a re-telling of Lolita, in modern times (late 1990s), from the girl's point of view. Not as good as Lolita, of course, but still funny and enjoyable. Has anyone else read it?
It's also damn funny.
And it seems a fairly popular approach in more mainstream stories as well, the aforementioned Silence of the Lambs and any of the villainous roles played by Alan Rickman come to mind. The documentary Mr. Death does a good job of drawing out your sympathy and then knocking you down again.
What I liked was that Nabrakov was able to make him sympathetic, but never excuse his behaviour.
I am surprised people blamed Lolita, but I guess out views of women and sexuality haven't changed much. We must always find a why to blame the victim.
The fact that its narrator is so deplorable is indeed his crowning achievement. Here we have a character that is committing these heinous crimes and yet the only way we can see the story is through his eyes, as he retells and recalls the details of his story years later.
The story isn't really about Lolita. It's about a man's obsession and what he will do to justify it. Lolita doesn't function so much as a character (or person) in the story as much as an object of Humbert's desire. The fact that they have sex should be taken more as a side note rather then the central point of contention.
Also, to say that Lolita is just about a pervert who falls in love with a young girl is like saying that Crime and Punishment is just about a guy who killed some people. It's the agony of the flaw and the redemption or death.
In summation: some people are scum, and life is hard. Don't impugn literature that knows it!
43hyacinthine Premier message
It's fiction. When somebody is taken advantage of in real life, that's bad. But I doubt Lolita inspires people to go out there and molest it up - if anything, it should do the opposite. Humbert ends up miserable, and Quilty ends up dead.
Dolores is not a lolita, and that is what I see as unfortunate. She has some innate problem, but that problem is exploited and carried to its extreme by Clare/Humbert (or is it Quilty/Humbert?). We have only fleeting glimpses of the horror that she faces at least once every day, for Humbert chooses not to see that side of his problem. Humbert sees her as a vixen, a nymphet, but she is not. And that is her tragedy and ours.
Just mentioning English as N's second or third language diminishes any assessment of his writing--good writing should not have to be qualified. I find N to be a pale imitation of Dostoevsky, if his intent was to expose the soul of HH. As a travelogue, it fares a bit better, perhaps inspired by the contemporaneous ad campaign, "See the USA in your Chevrolet." A bit harsh, I admit; I'm going to give it a second read when I can.
To say that Lolita is just about a perv who falls in lust/love is just wrong! (no offense) Maybe you could say it's a part of it (a very small part) but it's not the the core of the novel. it seemed to me that it was about fate, (er, i mean, McFate) and how it swings from being in Humbert's favor to being full on against him.