She was Lo, plain Lo, in the morning, standing four feet ten in one sock. She was Lola in slacks. She was Dolly at school. She was Dolores on the dotted line. But in my arms she was always Lolita.

This quotation comes from Humbert’s very first descriptions of Lolita in Part One, Chapter 1, and the different names that he ascribes to her emphasize to the reader that, despite his obsession with one particular version of her, she is a complex individual in her own right. Lolita may fall victim to the single-mindedness of Humbert’s narration throughout the novel, but she has her own ideas and motivations regardless of whether or not her guardian acknowledges them. In many ways, Humbert’s Lolita serves as a double for Dolores Haze, each representing a version of the same girl.

A combination of naïveté and deception, of charm and vulgarity, of blue silks and rosy mirth, Lolita, when she chose, could be a most exasperating brat…Mentally, I found her to be a disgustingly conventional little girl.

As Humbert and Lolita begin their travels across the United States in Part Two, Chapter 1, he begrudgingly admits to the reader that his beloved nymphet is, at heart, a regular twelve-year-old girl. This acknowledgement of Lolita’s childish behavior pushes back against Humbert’s ongoing characterization of her as an idyllic and mystical figure, calling attention to a key source of tension within their relationship. While her childish whims become one way in which Lolita can influence the road trip, they also serve as a reminder of just how powerless she is to escape Humbert altogether. 

From that moment, I stopped restraining my voice, and we continued yelling at each other, and she said, unprintable things. She said she loathed me. She made monstrous faces at me, inflating her cheeks and producing a diabolical plopping sound. She said I had attempted to violate her several times when I was her mother's roomer. She said she was sure I had murdered her mother. 

In Part Two, Chapter 14, a serious argument breaks out between Humbert and Lolita when he learns that she has been lying to him about attending her piano lessons. Lolita’s ability to challenge Humbert so aggressively in this moment emphasizes her growing independence and rejection of his control. She knows exactly what to say in order to make Humbert fear for his own security, and she uses this power in order to manipulate him throughout the course of their second road trip.