Literature Study GuidesLolitaPart 1 Chapters 24 25 Summary

Lolita | Study Guide

Vladimir Nabokov

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Lolita | Part 1, Chapters 24–25 | Summary

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Summary

Chapter 24

Humbert is leaving Ramsdale after ten weeks of living there. He reminds us of how attractive his "gloomy good looks" are to women, including, he says, to both Lolita and Charlotte. Jean Farlow, who comes up to say goodbye, is attracted to him as well. He thinks of Charlotte's death and Lolita's beauty as he drives away.

Chapter 25

As he drives toward Camp Q to pick up Lolita, Humbert worries that people might be suspicious about his relationship to her or that she would know about her mother's death by the time he sees her. He stops to make a call to the camp and learns that Lolita is on a hike. He is amazed that his lie to the Farlows has come true. He tells the camp mistress Lolita's mother is ill and that Lolita will leave with him the next day. He goes on a shopping spree buying clothes for Lolita, and then makes a reservation for them to stay the night at The Enchanted Hunters hotel.

Analysis

Humbert has tried out domestic life—marriage, a settled life in a suburban home—for ten weeks, and now he's alone, traveling and beginning to live once again the life of an uprooted, restless exile.

The name of the camp, Camp Q, foreshadows of the importance the character Quilty will have. The nearby lake toward which Humbert is driving, anticipating climax with Lolita, is called Lake Climax. These are examples of Nabokov's word play and jokes in Lolita. Humbert ponders how "the long hairy arm of Coincidence" has given him this opportunity, and he feels as if he has hit the jackpot when he talks to the camp mistress, amazed that the scheme that began in his imagination has come true. He wonders about the workings of "McFate," which is the name of Aubrey McFate, a girl in Lolita's class, but also Humbert's name for chance or the forces that sometimes seem to control his life. Which is it, then, coincidence or McFate, when Humbert decides to take Lolita to The Enchanted Hunters, which is the same place Charlotte had wanted to go to with Humbert? Humbert calls himself an enchanted hunter, echoing his description of the travelers who are "enchanted" by nymphets they pursue.

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