Literature Study GuidesLolitaPart 2 Chapters 27 28 Summary

Lolita | Study Guide

Vladimir Nabokov

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Lolita | Part 2, Chapters 27–28 | Summary



Chapter 27

Humbert receives two letters. One is from his old Ramsdale neighbor John Farlow. Jean Farlow has died of cancer, and John writes that he has remarried and is moving to South America. He has handed over Humbert's financial affairs to a lawyer. The people who had been renting Charlotte's home want to buy it; others are beginning to wonder where Lolita has gone. Humbert ponders the way characters in fiction are reliably always the same but real people change in surprising ways, the way quiet, conventional John Farlow has changed.

The second letter Humbert receives is from Lolita, who calls herself Dolly Schiller now. She is married and pregnant. Her husband, Dick, an engineer, has a job offer in Alaska but they need money so they can move there. She's afraid that "Dad" might still be angry at her for the way she ran away three years ago.

Chapter 28

Thinking of murder, unable to hold down food, Humbert drives toward Coalmont, the town where Lolita lives and, after some trouble, finds her home. Lolita's house is small and shabby. Preparing for the duel in which he imagines he will shoot the man who has taken her away, Humbert puts his gun in his pocket.


Humbert's thoughts about real and fictional people point to the fact that in some sense for Humbert, Lolita has always been fictional—for him as well as for the readers of this novel—and that the real girl, Dolly Haze, has hardly been seen. In writing this manuscript Humbert is trying once again to stop time, to trap his imaginary Lolita, as characters in fiction are trapped.

But Lolita, or rather Dolores Haze, is a real person, and she has changed. The letter is one of the few places in the novel where Lolita/Dolores speaks in her own voice and is not shown through Humbert's imagination. Lolita uses her real name, Dolores Haze. Humbert still uses the name he made up for her, Lolita. Her last name is Schiller, the name of a German romantic philosopher who advocated spiritual freedom as a way to transcend physical and material conditions.

Humbert, romanticizing himself as usual, takes his gun—his "chum," and practices using it. He asks people about where "the fiend" "Trapp-Schiller" has taken Lolita. He dresses himself with, he imagines, the gravity of someone about to duel. He asks directions at Killer Street and finds Lolita's house on Hunter Road.

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