This week I’ve started a new job and a new semester. The timing couldn’t be worse. Along with learning about contracts, I am learning about other cultures and how they view ours based on how we view and shape theirs. In the class we are learning that reality is often subjective.
Speaking of subjective, Vladimir Nabokov’s Lolita is one classic I just don’t get. Why is this book a classic? The protagonist, Humbert Humbert, does not seem to have a firm grip on reality and his crimes are unforgivable. In short he is a creep who is driven to share his story as if his confessions will lead to understanding and forgiveness .
Over and over again he tries to manipulate the reader. Humbert wants readers to understand why he breaks social taboos. He wants us to view sexual norms subjectively like he does. When that seems to fail, he tries to win support by “admitting” his crimes. Never have I liked a character less, never have I wanted to take a shower after reading a classic.
I leave it Professor Sweet to explain the deeper meaning of this subjective novel. Let me know what you think.