by: Vladimir Nabokov

Part Two, Chapters 1-–3

Though Humbert doesn’t concern himself with whether Lolita enjoys their carnal relationship, he does notice that her sexual experience has made her irresistible to men. It remains somewhat ambiguous how aware of her attractiveness Lolita is, but she clearly enjoys male company. Her flirtatiousness can be seen either as sexual precociousness or, perhaps, a veiled attempt to reattach herself to more conventional society, since she is drawn to families and hitchhikers as well as young men. Humbert’s jealousy causes him to control her even more tightly, as well as to see every man as a potential threat, including the mysterious man at the tennis court. Humbert’s fear about losing Lolita to another man will come true, as Quilty emerges from the shadows and makes himself known. Meanwhile, Lolita’s eagerness to mix with other people is just one sign of her unhappiness with her claustrophobic relationship with her stepfather/lover.