Lolita

by: Vladimir Nabokov

Part One, Chapters 28–33

Summary Part One, Chapters 28–33

By the end of this section, Humbert seems to have passed a point of no return, abandoning his already tenuous commitment to morality or decency. For example, despite her problems with her mother, Lolita becomes understandably distraught upon hearing of Charlotte’s death and cries herself to sleep. Yet Humbert remains steadfastly attached to his plan, even as he knows that she crawls into bed with him because she has nowhere else to go. His obsession leads him to believe that he can fulfill all of Lolita’s needs and keep her from needing anyone else besides him. This belief represents one of Humbert’s many delusions about Lolita. He remains remarkably insensitive to her feelings, ascribing her sullenness to mysterious bad moods rather than genuine grief at her mother’s death or genuine disgust with the sexual act. Humbert sees only his own nymphet, not the real thirteen-year-old girl. Charlotte was similarly obsessed with Humbert and saw only an erudite European, rather than a dissolute, middle-aged pedophile. Both parental figures are blinded by their own passion and fail to be proper parents and protectors to Lolita.