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Lolita

Vladimir Nabokov

Part One, Chapters 28–33

Part One, Chapters 23–27

Part One, Chapters 28–33, page 2

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Summary: Chapter 28

Humbert eagerly anticipates caressing the unconscious Lolita. He claims that he hadn’t planned on taking Lolita’s innocence or purity but merely wanted to fondle her while she slept. He admits that it should have been clear to him then that Lolita and Annabel were not the same, and that if he had known what pain and trouble would follow, he would have done things differently. Downstairs, Humbert wanders through the hotel’s public rooms. On the terrace, he encounters a man who insinuatingly accuses him of behaving inappropriately with Lolita. Each time Humbert asks the man to repeat himself, however, the man feigns innocence and pretends to make idle chit-chat about the weather. The man, who remains half-hidden in the shadows, invites Humbert and Lolita to lunch the following day, but Humbert plans to be gone with Lolita by then.

Summary: Chapter 29

Humbert returns to the hotel room to find Lolita half awake. He climbs into bed with her but doesn’t make any advances. Anxious and excited, Humbert stays awake all night. In the morning, Lolita wakes up and nuzzles him as he feigns sleep. She asks him if he ever had sex as a youth. When Humbert says no, Lolita has sex with him. Humbert states that, for her, sex was just another activity between children, unconnected to what adults do behind closed doors.

Summary: Chapter 30

Humbert launches into a dreamy description of how he would repaint the Enchanted Hunters hotel in order to make the setting of his first encounter with Lolita a more natural, romantic one.

Summary: Chapter 31

Humbert once again defends his actions as natural, using history as evidence. He notes that according to an old magazine in the prison library, a girl from the more temperate climates of America becomes mature in her twelfth year. He further reminds the reader, whom he calls his jury, that he wasn’t even Lolita’s first lover.

Summary: Chapter 32

Lolita recounts her first sexual experiences. Astonished by Humbert’s naïveté, she tells him that many of her friends have already experimented sexually with one another. At summer camp, she used to stand guard while her friend Barbara and Charlie, the camp-mistress’s son, copulated in the bushes. Soon, Lolita’s curiosity led her to have sex with Charlie as well, and she and Barbara began taking turns with the boy. Lolita says it was fun but expresses contempt for Charlie’s manners and intelligence. Humbert gives Lolita the various presents he bought for her, and they prepare to leave the hotel. He warns Lolita not to talk to strangers. He later notices a man, about his age, staring at Lolita while she reads a movie magazine in an armchair. Humbert thinks the man resembles his Swiss uncle Gustave.

Humbert becomes upset by Lolita’s shifting moods and her seeming disinterest in him, and he worries about how to keep their new arrangement a secret. As they drive off, he tries to uncover what Lolita’s friends know about her sexuality, but Lolita is in a bad mood and irritated by Humbert’s touches. Humbert feels guilty but still desires her, and she remains confused and unhappy. Even as he tries to cheer her up, Lolita says that she was only an innocent girl and that she should tell the police that Humbert raped her. Humbert can’t tell if she’s joking or not. Lolita complains of pains and accuses Humbert of tearing something inside her. Lolita becomes angry and upset and demands to call her mother. Humbert tells her that her mother is dead.

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Lolita is actually a pubescent child.

by lunaontherun, June 28, 2013

Lolita is a child in the early stages of puberty. Humbert, being attracted to such girls, is technically a hebephile, not a pedophile.

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2 out of 3 people found this helpful

Chapter 35

by Insanity_Prevails, December 08, 2013

I think there's a bit of a deeper meaning to the end of Chapter 35. As we see when Humbert goes downstairs after killing Quilty, there appears to be a party, or at least some sort of social gathering, occurring, none of which Humbert noticed before, dismissing the noise they had been making as "a mere singing in [his] ears." The people at this gathering seem not to care about the fact that he has just committed murder upstairs, and one even congratulates him: "Somebody ought to have done it long ago." I, for one, am brought to question how m... Read more

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27 out of 29 people found this helpful

This quote meaning "And the rest is rust and stardust"

by kellydollxoxo, February 08, 2015

What does the famous quote mean in his "Wanted" poem?

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