Lolita, by Vladimir Nabokov Essay

Lolita, by Vladimir Nabokov Essay

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There is no denying that the housewife, who can cook like a chef and look like a model, is an icon of the 1950s; most of the iconic women during this time were housewives. A famous example is Lucille Ball as Lucy Ricardo in I Love Lucy. The obsession with the housewife is even reflected in Nabokov’s Lolita which is set in the late 1940s and early 1950s. Through a conversation with Miss Pratt, the headmistress of Beardsley School for girls, Humbert Humbert frames the American education system as mere means preparing girls to be housewives. In the sexist American society, women are raised and educated, even at formal institutions, to be housewives.
In a mere two pages, the sexist past of women’s education is lain bare in a simple interview between a step-father and a school headmistress. Before the main dialogue even begins, Humbert recalls a teacher at Beardsley who revealed the main mission of the school when he said “girls are taught, as he put it with a foreigner’s love for such things: “not to spell very well, but to smell very well”” (Nabokov 177). This idiom, sadly, expr...

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