HomeLiterature Study GuidesLolitaPart 1 Chapters 2223 Summary

Lolita | Study Guide

Vladimir Nabokov

Download a PDF to print or study offline.

Download Study Guide
Cite This Study Guide

How to Cite This Study Guide

quotation mark graphic
MLA

Bibliography

Course Hero. "Lolita Study Guide." Course Hero. 25 Aug. 2016. Web. 11 Dec. 2017. <https://www.coursehero.com/lit/Lolita/>.

In text

(Course Hero)

APA

Bibliography

Course Hero. (2016, August 25). Lolita Study Guide. In Course Hero. Retrieved December 11, 2017, from https://www.coursehero.com/lit/Lolita/

In text

(Course Hero, 2016)

Chicago

Bibliography

Course Hero. "Lolita Study Guide." August 25, 2016. Accessed December 11, 2017. https://www.coursehero.com/lit/Lolita/.

Footnote

Course Hero, "Lolita Study Guide," August 25, 2016, accessed December 11, 2017, https://www.coursehero.com/lit/Lolita/.

Lolita | Part 1, Chapters 22–23 | Summary

Share
Share

Summary

Chapter 22

Anticipating Lolita's arrival home from Camp Q, Humbert visits the doctor and convinces him to provide medicine to make Charlotte and Lolita sleep soundly (he says it is for himself). The doctor gives him medicine and Humbert comes home cheerfully to find Charlotte writing a letter. When he enters the room Charlotte quotes cruel things he has written about her in the diary that Humbert had kept locked up. Angrily Charlotte tells Humbert to leave. Soon after a neighbor tells Humbert that Charlotte has been run over by a car.

Chapter 23

Outside Humbert sees that Charlotte has been killed by a car driven by Frederick Beale, who was avoiding hitting a dog. Humbert learns that she was hit as she crossed the street to mail three letters; Humbert is given those letters, which he claws to pieces in his pocket. Three doctors and the Farlows appear and they take over, putting "the widower," Humbert, to bed. The next morning Humbert tries to put the letters from his pocket together. One is to Lolita, another to a boarding school, and a final is to Humbert himself. Humbert convinces the Farlows that he is Lolita's real father, and that she's on a hike and so they cannot speak to her. When Frederick Beale offers to pay for Charlotte's funeral Humbert surprises him by accepting the offer.

Analysis

In his typical condescending manner Humbert describes the doctor whom he tricks into giving him strong sleeping pills so that he can carry out his plan of drugging his wife and stepdaughter. His description of the way Charlotte, "a great taker of pills," reacts to the pills he has given her—sleeping through a blasting radio, a flashlight on her face, but waking when he kisses her—is just one example of the way the novel often references fairy tales, in this case the Prince's kiss in Sleeping Beauty.

Some critics have pointed out that the second book of Lolita is a road story; they also suggest that the car, with its freedom, is an important symbolic aspect of the book, representing the freedom of the young United States as opposed to the rule-bound old Europe that Humbert comes from. In the crash and death of Charlotte we see a car going off its course, which can be taken as a foreshadowing of the journey of Lolita and Humbert to come. Another way of seeing the crash is that fate has once again played a hand in Humbert's life, changing the story in unexpected, surprising, and, in this case for him, positive ways.

Cite This Study Guide

information icon Have study documents to share about Lolita? Upload them to earn free Course Hero access!

Download Study Guide
Ask a homework question - tutors are online