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Does "Lolita" glorify pedophilia? Show more Show less
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Does the famous novel by Vladimir Nabokov create a positive representation of pedophilia or is it a scathing critique of it?

Yes, "Lolita" does glorify pedophilia Show more Show less

Nabokov’s attempts to make points about social hypocrisies are only made by exploiting child sexual abuse.
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The character of Dolores, a young child, is only seen as a sexual object

The only perspective in the book is that of Humbert Humbert and his perverse obsessions - the perspective of Dolores, the victim of child sexual abuse, is never depicted and their relationship is never portrayed as abuse.
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The Argument

At no point in the book is the relationship between Humbert and Dolores ever depicted as abuse. While readers are often able to intuit that Humbert Humbert’s perverse obsession with Dolores is just that -- perverse -- the amount of praise for the book’s writing and social critique fails to address the most disturbing aspect of the book: child sexual abuse. Whether or not the author intended this to be the case, the book has clearly led to a greater cultural acceptance of sexualizing young girls, especially in the media. Lolita’s ambivalent handling of the subject matter, never outright condemning or condoning sexual abuse but also adding elements of comedy, and its emphasis on empathizing with the character of Humbert Humbert creates a ripple effect where the feelings and desires of an abuser are more interesting and more impactful than that of their victim. Lolita has cemented the idea that young children are capable of being sexually seductive and provocative. [1][2]

Counter arguments

The author himself stated that there was no moral to the story of Lolita, and that he had no ultimate moral prescription for the book, so we cannot say whether it glorifies pedophilia or not based on the author’s intention. His writing in the books aims to critique destructive and selfish obsessions; if others interpreted the book as tacit support of pedophilia, then they missed the entire point of the book.[3]

Proponents

Premises

Rejecting the premises

References

  1. https://fembotmag.com/2020/07/06/the-cultural-history-of-the-lolita-stereotype/
  2. https://www.huffpost.com/entry/lolita-me-too-my-dark-vanessa-sexual-abuse_n_5e6be78ac5b6dda30fc8da23?guccounter=1&guce_referrer=aHR0cHM6Ly93d3cuZWNvc2lhLm9yZy8&guce_referrer_sig=AQAAAM6EaXJhnEw8Kvx_AaQkw_29d6g7ikcBWmEBG9ZYWQW60djg9N-jCEixE5XD6vjfWX2S6V4C6SIX1pITdQxrev1yGpLDP-rnzEemNMaR91s6OT4ZezBDIhWjFTYS-gk8R1GZChUFLWCvwSJ7AqWgAcqJyOOSvnxQclwHWm3k9pB3
  3. https://quillette.com/2019/05/06/the-case-for-nabokov/

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This page was last edited on Monday, 12 Oct 2020 at 02:02 UTC