Literature Study GuidesLolitaPart 2 Chapters 13 14 Summary

Lolita | Study Guide

Vladimir Nabokov

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Lolita | Part 2, Chapters 13–14 | Summary



Chapter 13

Lolita is very involved in the production of The Enchanted Hunters, and Humbert is not paying much attention to what the play is about. From what he has gathered Lolita plays a farmer's daughter with a woodland nymph's powers to entrance lost hunters before herself falling under the spell of a "vagabond poet" who claims she is his invention. She then has to demonstrate that she is a real farm girl. Lolita says she does not want Humbert to come to any of the rehearsals so he can be surprised on opening night. After one rehearsal she asks him if he can remember the name of the hotel "where you raped me." Of course it was called The Enchanted Hunters.

Chapter 14

Humbert allows Lolita to take piano lessons twice a week but learns that she has missed two. When he asks her what she was doing during that time she tells him she was rehearsing the play. He calls Mona to find if what Lolita has said was true, then realizes that Lolita has been deceiving him. He sees her now not as his lovely nymphet Lolita but as being like any other "vulgar untidy high school girl" and realizes that she could expose him "without getting penalized herself." He and Lolita have a loud and violent fight that disturbs a neighbor. Lolita escapes as Humbert talks to the neighbor; soon Humbert goes after her. When he finds her, talking on the phone in a booth, she tells him she wants to go away and travel again. Back at home she asks him to carry her upstairs, saying, "I feel sort of romantic tonight."


It's significant that Lolita's play has the same name as the hotel in which she and Humbert stayed when he first raped her. The story of this play-within-the-novel mirrors the tension in Lolita's life between fantasy and reality. Lolita's character has to prove she is "real" when Dolly has never been real to Humbert. He sees in her only his fantasized nymphet Lolita, not the real young girl she is. The moral of the drama is that "mirage and reality merge in love." Yet this may not be an ending the real Lolita will claim.

With her bicycle and her participation in the drama, Lolita has been becoming more independent of Humbert. Humbert's finding her in the phone booth leads to a string of deceptions, which Humbert doesn't spot. She tells him she has been trying to call him. She also pretends to want sex with him, seducing him, acting out a movie cliché—asking him to carry her upstairs—that fits with Humbert's sense of literary romance. He says that he cried through the sex, "the other tempest."

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