Extremely Controversial Topics In Lolita By Vladimir Nabokov:

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Books can be made on extremely controversial topics, and they may or may not be exceptional topics. Any book with a controversial topic either becomes a flop or becomes a classic novel as time passes for different reasons. One book that did become a classic novel, Lolita, is regarded as a classic novel today because of its relevance to today’s society and because of the use of many literary devices.

Lolita is a very eloquent book. The author, Vladimir Nabokov employs many different techniques in order to create a novel of this nature. One technique Nabokov employs is the use of idioms throughout the novel. Throughout the story, Nabokov uses phrases that may make little sense, however when viewed in context of the chapter show his language to be exaggeration, creating a sense of humor and lightheartedness to a dark story. One example of such language is “had for object a fastness of sleep that a whole regiment would not disturb”, referring to Lolita in her sleep. This really lightens the mood in the story as it shows how Dolores could sleep through anything, even through Humbert’s taking advantage of her. Furthermore, Nabokov employs the use of irony to advance the plot, specifically the use of situational irony. One situation the author used situational irony is on page 97, in which Nabokov states “There’s this man saying you’ve been killed, Charlotte. But there was no Charlotte in the living room.” The audience has no idea that a character is about to die, which makes the death so tragic, however it allows the plot of the story to continue. If Charlotte did not die, Humbert would have just settled down with her, and never thought about Dolores again, therefore ending the novel prematurely.

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Lolita is still a relevant novel in todays society in many diverse ways. A particular way that Lolita is still relevant to today’s society is because of the concept of sexual assault. Sexual assault has been an ongoing issue within the modern society, it has terrified people for a long time. In the novel, one of Humbert’s greatest issues is that society did not accept Humbert’s addiction of sexual assault, same way that in the real-world sexual assault is viewed as an icky and atrocious concept. As much as Humbert tries to hide his obsession from society, it is obvious that he has a problem. In the novel, Humbert states that “the red pill did not even belong to the big and noble family of barbiturates, and thought it might have induced sleep in a maniac who believed it to be a strong drug, it was just too mild a sedative to affect for any amount of time a wary, although weary, nymphet.” Circumstances in which people try to drug women and children in order to take advantage of them still happen to this day. A recent high-profile case relating to this topic is Bill Cosby, which everyone knows of. Society disapproved of what Bill Cosby did, same way that in the novel society would disapprove of what Humbert was attempting to do. Another way that the novel relates to modern society is through bullying. As the novel is told mostly through Humbert’s perspective, Humbert victimizes himself for his addiction to nymphets. Humbert views himself as a victim of his past, as evident by Humbert stating, “when I try to analyze my own cravings, motives, actions and so forth, I surrender to a imagination which feeds the systematic faculty with endless possibilities and which causes each visualized route to fork and re-fork without end in the incredibly complex prospect of the past.” When people make mistakes unknowingly, they feel as if they are in the right, no matter how other people tend to view them. A real-world example of this is the O.J Simpson case, in which Mr. Simpson feels as if he is totally in the right, however many people feel as if he should have been found guilty.

In conclusion, Lolita is a classic novel because of the literary device uses and because of its relevance to modern society. Uses of situational irony and idioms both elevate the competency of this book, meanwhile also furthering the plot. On that same note, the relevancy of Lolita to sexual assault and bullying are both modern day societal problems. Overall, the story of Lolita remains a largely relevant story throughout the 21st century for both its modern-day relevancy and due to the authors use of literary devices.


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