Vladimir Nabokov's Lolita: Various Literary Lenses
In Nabokov's Lolita, an effectual force of individuality converges with a force of society into a prolific battle between what is morally justified by a community, versus what is justified by an individual, revealing the essential choice everyone must face: the isolation of individuality or the incorporation in the social sense of "belonging." This conflict is played on by two major themes, Pedophilia and Murder, and represents the crux of the novel. Through the various literary techniques of interpretation, Formalist, New Historicist, and Feminist, Lolita begins its journey as a modern classic of literature, its ambiguity in morality masterfully propelled by Nabokov and his main character Humbert Humbert. Applying a formalist lens, we see Nabokov's view of an intrinsically suffering man, and his attempt to alter society, if not escape from it, in order to solve his problems. Using characterization, irony, and point of view, Nabokov presents the reader with a psychological case study on an incestuous murderer, who begs the reader for his redemption and understanding. From a New Historicist perspective, we question the intent of the written novel - why Nabokov chose to write Lolita during the 1950's, a time...
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