A critic says Nabokov's central theme is the "nature of the creative imagination and the solitary , freak-like role in which a man gifted with such imagination is inevitably cast in any society"....

A critic says Nabokov's central theme is the "nature of the creative imagination and the solitary , freak-like role in which a man gifted with such imagination is inevitably cast in any society". Does this description fit Humbert?

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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I think that Humbert would think that such a description applies to him.  Humbert describes himself as an "artist."  As an artist, he suggests that that society will never fully understand people like him.  In seeing himself as a "poet," and having to explain his actions, Humbert would agree that he is cast by society as one who is "solitary and "freak- like."  The idea that society does not understand Humbert's sensibilities and sense of genius would appeal to how he sees himself:  "Emphatically, no killers are we. Poets never kill."  

Humbert's perception of social perception is another example of how he would agree with the critic's assessment.  His rejection of the social repudiation of people like him as a "sex fiend" is further evidence that Humbert's sense of "creative imagination" has cast him apart from others in society.  Humbert would agree with the idea that there is a collision between the imagination of the creative with the perception received from the social setting at large.  Nabokov constructs Humbert to believe in the notion of his role as an artist as a refuge from the reality of what he does with Lolita.  Humbert recognizes that acceptance of a reality in which what he has done has harmed Lolita would render "life" as " a joke."  It is in this need to affirm a meaning to life that Humbert would readily accept the characterization of him being cast apart from the larger social setting because of his being "gifted with creative imagination."

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