Critics support Lolita’s censorship because they believe protagonist Humbert Humbert’s approval of pedophilia goes unnoticed, even though it is immoral. Critics regard Humbert as an unreliable narrator as he is writing from a jail cell with nothing to do but make excuses for himself. In this way, he paints Dolores Haze, the twelve-year old with whom Humbert is romantically and sexually involved with, as a predator and himself the victim of seduction. This degradation of an innocent child causes anger in critics because in the mindset of most Americans, an older man has more power and sexual drive than a twelve-year old girl. In his blaming of Dolores as the one who initiated sex between the two, Humbert is giving other pedophiles and child molesters a justification to blame innocent children for their evil. Mathew Bruccoli, when commenting on Humbert’s characterization, states, “The way in which Humbert portrays Lolita, for example, weakens her presence and therefore minimizes readers' response to his treatment of her” (1). Those in favor of censorship also present the argument of th...
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With its first publication, Vladimir Nabokov’s Lolita was banned in the United Kingdom, Argentina, New Zealand, South Africa, Canada, and the United States for its sexual and obscene content. Critics believed protagonist Humbert Humbert’s actions would be overlooked by readers due to both his wit and psychological outlook of his pedophilia. As a result, they feared, child molestation would be taken more lightly and come with more excuses. However, through an analyzation of Humbert’s character, any reader can see an exemplification of common themes such as nostalgia, consumerism, and guilt. These common themes were demonstrated in literature such as The Great Gatsby and Macbeth, both of which were published before Lolita. All in all, adult and even teenage readers should be able to look past erotic imagery to focus on the art of the actual novel.
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