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Literature Study GuidesLolitaPart 2 Chapters 7 8 Summary

Lolita | Study Guide

Vladimir Nabokov

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Lolita | Part 2, Chapters 7–8 | Summary



Chapter 7

Humbert begins to worry that Lolita is becoming immoral. She does not provide him with natural affection, which he would like, and she begins to demand money in exchange for her sexual attention. Humbert continually turns the narrative toward himself: Lolita is in the wrong. He pays her 21 cents to "fulfill her basic obligations," and soon he pays her more, seeing himself as generous because he gives her gifts as well. She is "listless" during sex and "a cruel negotiator" who denies him sweetness. He finds that she's been hoarding and hiding money around the apartment and removes it, worrying that she might eventually have "sufficient cash to run away." He lowers his prices and has her earn "the hard and nauseous way" the right to act in the school play.

Chapter 8

Humbert tells his readers that he tried hard to figure out how to deal with Lolita's boyfriends. He quotes from a column that provides advice to fathers. He forbids Lolita to go on dates and watches her closely when she gets together with girlfriends. He describes himself taking her around the town to the dentist and to the library. He and Gaston go out to dinner with his own "little girl on her father's right" and a "little boy," the son of an absent professor, on Gaston's left. He is aware of everyone in the community watching him.


It's darkly comic that Humbert tries to "tackle the problem of boys." As he imitates being a father he experiences fatherhood. However he has trouble living in the anxiety in which real fathers live. He is still worried about his neighbors finding him out and reviews his own behavior every night after "a session of adoration and despair." Lolita seems to be oblivious to the boys who notice her everywhere, but it's clear that she is becoming more independent of him.

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