So Part I ends not with the consummation of Humbert’s and Lolita’s relationship, but with Lo learning that her mother is dead and she is completely alone, at the mercy of her legal stepfather. Again, H.H. is attempting to compensate in traditionally masculine-American-capitalist terms: by buying her things. Appel notes that the gaiety and “lepping” name of Lepingville “mark the fact that, as Part One ends, H.H. secures his capture.”It is a genius conclusion that shifts the emphasis of the entire novel from lurid sexual predation to the helplessness of the child at its heart.
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