Humbert's Description of Lolita in Vladimir Nabokov's Lolita

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Humbert's Description of Lolita

In Chapter 31 of Part 1 of Lolita, Humbert and Lolita are in the lobby of the Enchanted Hunters only hours after consummating their sexual relationship. As Humbert arrives in the lobby to check out of the hotel, he observes Lolita as she sits reading a movie magazine in a large armchair, and his description of her progresses from a focus on her loss of innocence to a focus on her inner, demonic nature. As elsewhere in the novel, the reader here sees Humbert attempting to mitigate his own sense of guilt and self-loathing.

His description of Lolita is typical Humbert, with an almost obsessive attention to detail as his eyes glide over her body from her shoes to her eyes and face:
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As the passage goes on, Humbert's portrait of Lolita gets more detailed, moving from descriptions of her childish clothing ("saddle oxfords" and "pink frock") to evidence of their recent lovemaking:

Nothing could have been more childish than her snubbed nose, freckled face or the purplish spot on her naked neck where a fairytale vampire had feasted, or the unconscious movement of her tongue exploring a touch of rosy rash around her swollen lips. (138-39)

The "hickey" and the rash around Lolita's mouth produced by Humbert's unshaven face signify her loss of innocence, but they also depict her as Humbert's prey and his victim. He is the "fairytale vampire" "feasting" on Lolita and leaving visible signs of his depredation on her childlike body. Indeed, these details come surrounded by a series of parallel phrases that emphasize the girl's innocence: "Nothing could have been more childish . . . nothing could be more harmless . . . nothing could be more innocent . . . nothing could be more naive."

So far, so good. Having had intercourse with Lolita earlier that morning Humbert, not surprisingly, sees her as his victim, sees both her childlike innocence and the signs of his own brutal assault on that innocence. But at the end of the passage, Humbert's understanding of Lolita and her "lost innocence" changes radically as he proclaims her to
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