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Literature Study GuidesLolitaPart 2 Chapters 33 34 Summary

Lolita | Study Guide

Vladimir Nabokov

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Lolita | Part 2, Chapters 33–34 | Summary



Chapter 33

Humbert returns to Ramsdale and walks through the streets where he used to walk when he lived with Charlotte and Dolly Haze. He frightens a little girl and realizes his pants are dirty and he looks sick. He meets his old neighbor Mrs. Chatfield, who "attacks" him with an "evil" smile; he images she is accusing him of doing to Lolita what Frank LaSalle did to Sally Horner in 1948. With "exquisite pleasure" Humbert tells her that Lolita has married, and when she says she doesn't believe in early marriage he shocks her by telling her that Charlie Holmes had sex with her daughter at Camp Q. He meets with his lawyer and keeps thinking about Clare Quilty. He visits the dentist, Quilty's uncle, and insults him. He gets his gun ready for use.

Chapter 34

Humbert drives toward Grimm Road, to Pavor Manor where Clare Quilty lives, and looks at his house. He sees many cars parked outside and knows that Quilty is home. He finds a place to sleep for the night.


Humbert the character retraces his steps through Ramsdale in the same way that Humbert the narrator is retracing his steps in his "memoir," the novel Lolita. He is no longer attractive to little girls but frightening to them.

Humbert no longer seems to be scheming to fit into this suburban, American world; he now says what he really thinks, puncturing the moral pretenses and upright conventions of middle-class America. He does what's right by returning money to his lawyer, but he is full of fury and despair, which spills out in his nasty remarks to Mrs. Chatfield and in his insult to Ivor Quilty, the dentist. Humbert's gun is "aching to be discharged."

Place names are significant, as always. Pavor means "fear" in Latin, and the word Grimm is rather grim. Nabokov is creating a grimly forbidding mood that veers toward a parody of the gothic. Humbert is once again romanticizing or dramatizing himself, using literary clichés to tell his story.

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