In the novel Lolita, which was written by Vladimir Nabokov, the dominant force of the narrator, Humbert Humbert, is his need to prove himself to be the master of everything from his own desires to fate to other people and to language itself. In several occasions in the novel, Humbert Humber’s actions and emotions appear to be guided by the psychosocial need to possess, control, and to win. In his view, which is greatly contested and criticized by feminists, women gender relations provide that women are possession, which men should compete for them in the society. He occasionally competes to prove his superiority in several other ways such as tricking psychologists into rethinking his sexual orientation as gay.
Another attribute of men that is presented in the novel is the competition for the possession of women. The most evident competitors in this novel are Humbert and Clare Quilty. While Lolita loves Clare Quilty and eventually marries him after he takes her away from the hospital without her consent. However, she reluctantly marries him. When she becomes pregnant, she contacts Humbert, who has since taken up with another woman named Rita, and asks Humbert for money. Feminist believe that this indicates that women are unable to make independent decisions, especially to live with one man. The novel does not only indicate the fact that women are weaker than men are, but also the assertion that men are gullible. Humbert is depicted to be lust for Lolita since she reminds him of his deceased lover, Annabel Leigh. Despite knowing that Lolita is married and is now pregnant for another man, Humbert intends to stop at nothing to get Lolita back.
The other feminist critical view of this novel is the competition for possessing women, which makes the men lose their moral stance. Hembert, the protagonist intends to kill anybody that he considers an obstacle against his love Lolita. First, he toys with the idea of killing Haze even though he does not succeed. Additionally, after realizing that Lolita’s husband had abandoned her after refusing to participate in child pornography, he finds out where Clare lives and shoots him numerously and kills him. This indicates that men are willing to do anything in their power to possess the women they lust for them. Even though men might be considered as such in the novel, it also depicts women as insensitive of men’s manipulation.
Women are defenseless and helpless. This is quite evident in the novel. Haze protects her daughter from the evils of the society including the prying eyes of men. However, she fails to realize that Humbert tries and successfully manipulates her to satisfy his lust for Lolita. Additionally, when Haze eventually dies, Lolita cannot protect herself anymore since she is a minor. Humbert even succeeds to have sex with Lolita while she is still a minor, and nothing is done to protect the girl. This also indicates that the society has ignored women for the protection beyond the family. Parents have the responsibility of taking care of their daughters. However, in the absence of the parents, these young girls are vulnerable to the prying eyes of men such as Humbert, who are ready to exploit the girls sexually since they know that they are safe. This is even stressed that while Humbert walks free after sexually defiling a minor, he is immediately arrested for killing Quilty.
Men are jealous of other men whom they suspect to have anything to do with their women regardless of their age. When Humbert gets a job at Beardsley College, he enrolls Lolita in the girls’ school there. However, Humbert is repressive of her desire to socialize with other boys, which strain their relationship. However, she uses her wit to lure Humbert to allow her participate in the school play. The competition among men for possessing women is also depicted in this case. While Humbert intends to take Lolita through education, he is afraid of her interaction with the boys, and is jealous of them. On the other hand, women take advantage of their sexual orientation to manipulate men, which also make them vulnerable to the wrath of men. For instance, Humbert threatens to put Lolita in an orphanage if she refuse to comply with his sexual desires.
Nabokov, Vladimir. “Lolita.” City of WestminsterLondon: Penguin Books Limited, 2012, print