The Art of Language and Deception in Lolita

9 September 2016

In his own words, he is Humbert the deadly charming sophisticate, Humbert the lover, Humbert the monster, and above all Humbert the the manipulator. In the Lolita by Vladimir Nobokov, Humbert uses ornate language and style to manipulate the audience and invoke a trust and cordialness that leads to a view of him as a sympathetic pedofile. Humbert’s narration is full of wordplay and hidden meanings. He is playing with our minds throughout the novel, slowly gaining our trust and manipulating us.

The complexity of Humbert’s narration creates an interesting and enjoyable flow to his confession that he uses to his advantage, since it is at some points quite difficult to piece together true facts and details of his story. His narration spontaneously changes; from a serious and eloquent demeanor, to a playful tone riddle-like tone with wordplay, as well as from his monstrous and uncontrollable pedophiliac yearnings, to a somewhat sensible and remorseful individual. His change in voice allows him to commit crimes in one hand, while fooling us with his ornate language in the other.

The Art of Language and Deception in Lolita Essay Example

For example, in a child-like mix-up of letters, Humbert blurts out “What’s the Katter with misses? ” I muttered (word-control gone) into her hair. ” This is quite a setback from the Humbert who begins his phrases with “Gentlemen of the jury! ”(Nobokov 69), following it by providing well thought out defenses for his nymph desires. By teasing the jury with the two sides, he shows an playful and vulnerable side to him that could not be completely ruthless, as well as a level-headed moral being who is simply conflicted with an uncontrollable desire.

In addition, Humbert addresses the audience in this way to give them a feeling of authority towards a man who freely admits his guilt, which keeps his manipulation game in check most of the time. The fact that Humbert mentions numerous times the lolita’s sexual deviousness and flirtatious demeanor, while in true sense mind, her child-mind at the age of twelve could not have grasped and control the relationship, regardless of her sexual experiences embodies this manipulation. The constant mixing of moral values shields the audience from seeing the true monster that he is.

He tells us on numerous occasion that he loves her and even displays remorse from time to time “ in retrospect, was no more than a collection of dog-eared maps, ruined tour books, old tires and her sobs in the night—every night, every night—the moment I feigned sleep” (176) quickly offsetting it by showing his ruthless and evil perversion “the sensualist in me had no objection to some depravity in his prey” (124) at what he has created Humbert referring to himself as a monster and pedofile therefore, is only to distract the audience from their manipulated minds.

The changing style allows more time for a visual stimulation in his ornate style and shocking accounts, and less time in actually deciphering the fabricating lies to the actual evidence and occurrences. The ending result is that the stimulating narration is its analyzes itself and that the reader gives up on decipher some of his clues Being the writer that he is, Humbert cannot help but create beauty within each moment of his story, which work to distract the audience out of complete repulsion towards his actions.

Whether it be admiring the sunlit lake in the mundane suburban noontime, having a brief tryst with a nymph-like prostitute in a cheap hotel room, or contemplating a drowning murder in which he described “… passed like the tail of a falling star across the blackness of the contemplated crime. It was like some dreadful silent ballet, the male dance holding the ballerina by her foot and streaking down through watery twilight. ” (Nobokov 86-87), he does not fail to veil his crimes with lavish brilliance.

In this case, the imagery he creates using a simile of graceful ballerinas amid the darkly lit backdrop of a vicious homicide illustrates the genius of Humbert’s distractions that keep the reader intrigued and unquestioning. Though the audience may be aware of the fact that his thoughts and actions are repulsive most of the time (he clearly states it), like an infatuated lover in the middle of an abusive relationship, we are hooked on to his language, and seem to take less offense towards him because what he feeds us in his style and imagery.

Diverts reader from the real problem. The masterpiece in his language: distracts the reader from fully grasping or taking seriously the sadist that he outwardly presents to us. By displaying his sadist desires bluntly and at the same time being able to capture the empathy and understanding of such the jury, who by all societal standards, should be rioting his confession, Humbert can revere himself on yet another feat, in which he is able to manipulate by empathizing beauty in his evil, insteading attempting to hide is dark thoughts. In a way, his self-confessing and guilt ridden outburst towards his inner-most pedofilia desires displays that the guilt he feels is not completely at his fault. It is the society’s fault that, the laws that prohibit that type of relationship. Although Humbert may have felt remorseful towards the destruction he caused lolita, it is unjust to label him as a reformed criminal and a hero.

He never really states that there is something completely morally wrong with his thoughts, only that the society he is a part of believes Based on the novel, a man of Humbert’s intelligence: one that strategically places each detail of his liaisons, each sentence, each word in place to create a riddle-like confession that leaves the reader speechless or sorrowful does not simply show us his true self to an audience without thinking it through.

In other words, it would make little sense for a man of Humbert’s intellect to so easily forget his judging jury and directly show his vain and arrogant personality to further accusate himself. Not to worry however, because Humbert had after all strategically mannered each one of his jolts of laughable conceit and arrogance. His too-good, smarter than everyone demeanor is apparent when he mentions his adult companions (Valeria, Charlotte, Rita) in his less-fortunate and pitiful voice.

While envisioning how he could use Charlotte to his advantage he says “I might blackmail—no, that is too strong a word—mauvemail big Haze into letting me consort with little Haze by gently threatening the poor doting Big Dove with desertion if she tried to bar me from playing with my legal stepdaughter. ”(Nobokov 71) Here, he purposely shows us the ease he believes he has in getting what he wants and in controlling the other characters, while in reality the audience is aware that these flaws inhibit greater consequence.

In additon, Humbert also allows himself to exaggerate the size of his reproductive organ when he tells us “I was to her not a boyfriend, not a glamour man, not a pal, not even a person at all, but just two eyes and a foot of engorged brawn–” (Nobokov 283). The intent in each of these instances therefore, is to show that on top of his moral flaws, he also has character flaws such as his vanity and cockiness, which allow him to humanize himself outside of the pedofile box he is put in.

Furthermore, it strangely but logically enhances his reliability as a narrator because his bouts of denial and arrogance works to show the reader that he is not as conniving and calculating as the reader may think if he is able to forget the simple aspect of his own voice when writing his confession. This effect, however is exactly what Humbert wants us to think, that his moments of inattentiveness and feeling vulnerable he describe obviously biased scenarios and viewpoints.

Of course, the true effect is that Humbert has succeeded yet again in manipulating the audience, in this case allowing us to see him more as an honest narrator, whether it be out of his own recklessness, or his inability to contain his emotions. As a result, the reader will in some cases, be occupied with analyzing his psychological motives of a sick man at odds with his feelings and desires and inexplicably releases on an easy twelve year old prey, instead of acknowledging that he is quite simply a manipulative sadist.

He had to paint a more pathetic and self-delusional image of himself in order to hide his sinister and manipulative side. Classic ruthlessness to some of his actions. He purposely displays his human weaknesses as a first person narrator to gain an excuse for his actions. Like how serial often blame narcotics or demonic possession for their actions, Humbert inexplicably blames his imbalanced mind, while in reality it is his manipulative genius that causes us to believe this. The stated point to the work is to show us the confession of a reformed pedofile.

The imbalance of chemicals in the mind of such a monster and how to spot one. Most importantly, to show that he has changed for the better. Upon closer inspection it is seen that this interpretation is simply a distraction from sinister and almost comical manipulation that he puts the reader through. It is a roller coaster of feigned attractions that ends with a triumphant Humbert who has fooled the audience with his deranged sympathy games. He is a true manipulative (monster) because through the jail he is able to manipulate the audience, ironically through his confession. Blurs line between sadism and beauty

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