Can Humbert be Trusted with the Telling of His Tale?A Deconstructive Study of Binary Oppositions in Vladimir Nabokov’s Lolita

University essay from Högskolan i Halmstad/Sektionen för humaniora (HUM)

Abstract: In Lolita, Humbert is obsessed with the 12-year-old Lolita. It is a vulgar and disturbing story which raises questions about morality and ethics. With a sophisticated and elegant narrative, Humbert manages to draw attention to language rather than to his actions. Through fancy prose style Humbert covers up and hides his horrible actions. His verbal game serves to manipulate his readers to accept Humbert´s feelings and actions and sympathize with him.  Humbert´s narration is very persuasive and the reader is easily fooled to concentrate on what he says rather than what he does. In this essay deconstructive method is used to analyse Lolita. The study shows how binary oppositions are used in Lolita and what effect they have on the reader´s comprehension of the text. The study presents a number of incongruities in Humbert´s telling of the story and therefore the essay argues that Humbert cannot be trusted with the telling of his tale.

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