HomeLiterature Study GuidesLolitaPart 2 Chapters 56 Summary

Lolita | Study Guide

Vladimir Nabokov

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Course Hero. "Lolita Study Guide." Course Hero. 25 Aug. 2016. Web. 16 Dec. 2017. <https://www.coursehero.com/lit/Lolita/>.

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Course Hero. (2016, August 25). Lolita Study Guide. In Course Hero. Retrieved December 16, 2017, from https://www.coursehero.com/lit/Lolita/

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Course Hero. "Lolita Study Guide." August 25, 2016. Accessed December 16, 2017. https://www.coursehero.com/lit/Lolita/.

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Course Hero, "Lolita Study Guide," August 25, 2016, accessed December 16, 2017, https://www.coursehero.com/lit/Lolita/.

Lolita | Part 2, Chapters 5–6 | Summary

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Summary

Chapter 5

Humbert gets to know his neighbors and frets over those who show curiosity about his and Lolita's relationship. Living in Beardsley in a settled community for the first time in years, Humbert's main concern is to appear aloof but not rude to his neighbors and his housekeeper. He becomes "a great expert in bedmaking" in order to hide evidence of his having sex with Lolita. Humbert uses odd foreign phrases for suburban life, telling us about his "west-door neighbor" who "barbered" his garden, "watered" his car, and "defrosted" his driveway. These incorrect verbs and this clichéd picture of the United States remind us that Humbert is a foreigner to the language and the culture of the United States, as is his friend Gaston Godin.

Chapter 6

Humbert tells us about his neighbor Gaston Godin, what Godin's apartment looks like, and how the two men pass their time together playing chess. Humbert tells us that Gaston was a mediocre teacher and a worthless scholar, "devoid of any talent whatsoever."

Analysis

Humbert enjoys Gaston Godin partly because he provides cover for his relationship with Lolita. Humbert describes how everyone likes Gaston Godin, though he seems obviously to be gay (which was considered deviant at the time) and a pedophile. Gaston seems more tied to European culture than Humbert is: Gaston's walls are full of photographs of writers and artists from France, all of them gay and famous for speaking of the power of art. And even though Humbert and Gaston are in some ways doubles of each other—both from the old world of Europe, both scholars, both sexually involved with children—Humbert sees himself as superior to his friend. He sees Gaston as a fake (look who's talking!) and may be jealous that Gaston is beloved by those in the community.

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