Crane

This essay has a total of 627 words and 4 pages.


Crane




Love

Love, what is it? Love is a powerful feeling that is expressed in many ways throughout
our society between men and women. Sometimes powerful feelings can have a negative
ending, such as the ending in the novel Lolita.

The affair, Humbert argues, was made possible because he resembled a movie star to Lolita,
and ends when Quilty offers her a chance at Hollywood, something Humbert cannot do. Lolita
is perceived by the adults in her life--Humbert, Charlotte, and Quilty--as a star. The
novel's consistent invocation of filmic metaphors to describe Lolita invites us to read
her as a literary version of Hollywood's child star. Her career is as short-lived as the
average child star's: as first Humbert's lover and then Quilty's whore, Lolita's career
spans roughly four to five years. Humbert scrupulously remarks throughout the confession
that he is working with the wrong medium. He is convinced, and he obviously wants his
reader to become so, that Lolita could be forever his, that his seduction would be a
complete achievement.

Recognizing that "Lolita will not forever be Lolita", Humbert uses film as a proleptic
defense against losing her to those witnesses who would attempt to reformulate her. Since
film works only as fantasy, however, Humbert risks losing control over the definition of
his art to a series of doubles with whom he competes, such as the playwright and
pornographer Clare Quilty, who takes advantage of Humbert's initial foresight, using it as
a stepping stone to the next limit and leaving Humbert in the dark.

Humbert Humbert's use of cinematic metaphors makes explicit what is at stake, in Lolita's
representation of pedophilia and incest, namely, control over the means of visual
representation and male adult memories of childhood sexual desire. What marks Lolita as a
desirable nymphet for Humbert is the way she can be remembered through implicitly filmic
terms. At the start of his confession, Humbert provides his reader with "two kinds of
visual memory" associated with the two central nymphets in his life, Annabel and Lolita.
The first is Humbert's remembrance of Annabel, whose image he "skillfully recreates in the
laboratory of [his] mind, with [his] eyes open". Notably, he recalls her appearance
through the artifice of literature, seeing her in descriptive terms, such as
"honey-colored skin" and "big bright mouth". The second type of visual memory surfaces
with Lolita, unhampered by words as her "objective, absolutely optical replica" is
"instantly evoked, with shut eyes, on the dark innerside of [his] eyelids". Whereas
Annabel's imaginative resurrection involves a piecing together of fragments, Lolita's
image is projected onto Humbert's closed eyelids as a unified whole.

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