Chapter 35 Summary

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For Humbert, the purpose of all this traveling is to keep Lolita “in passable humor from kiss to kiss.” Congratulating himself that he is a kind and indulgent man, he describes the many pleasures he purchases for her. He buys her lovely desserts at roadside restaurants. He pays for her entry fees at all manner of tourist attractions. He catalogues destination after destination—mummies, canyons, viewpoints—interspersing the details with brief descriptions of Lolita’s body.

In this section, Humbert rarely mentions Lolita's actions. When he does, he usually shows her revulsion toward him or her eagerness to interact normally with other people. He states matter-of-factly that the two of them have many arguments. Once, for instance, she asks how long they will “live in stuffy cabins, doing filthy things together and never behaving like ordinary people.”

During this year, Humbert grows extremely jealous of Lolita. According to him, she has a certain “glow” that draws the attraction of nearly every boy and man she meets. He thinks she looks this way because she is constantly involved in “amorous exercises.” In any case, she understands what men are thinking when they see her, and she likes to encourage them. Whenever he lets her out of his sight to go to a skating rink or buy some candy, she ends up hanging out with “hoodlums” who simply drool over her sexuality.

Lolita, for her part, is quite cruel to Humbert. She is not nearly as indulgent of his interests as he is of hers. In the towns they visit, he always asks when the schools will release their students, and then he likes to drive there with Lolita and make her fondle him while he watches the little girls walk home. But Lolita, who has “a childish lack of sympathy for other people’s whims,” snarls and mocks him so much that he finds it necessary to give up this sport.

For a while, Humbert tries to teach Lolita tennis so that they will have a hobby to share. He fails at teaching her himself, so he ends up hiring a coach. Lolita hates playing tennis with Humbert; all she likes to do is lob the ball slowly back and forth with other girls. If Humbert tries to help the other girls, placing his hands on their wrists or thighs to show them proper form, Lolita reacts with “a tremendous ugh of disgust.”

Addressing the reader, Humbert admits that none of these little incidents are very important, but he writes:

I itemize these sunny nothings in order to prove to my judges that I did everything in my power to give Lolita a really good time.

It is certainly a good time for Humbert. He fears that he will be arrested, and he finds Lolita’s moods annoying, but it is “charming” to watch Lolita play a game of tennis and then to lead her afterward to their hotel room for sex. He has sex with her three times per day, and his only worry is that someone will take her away.

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Chapter 34 Summary


Chapter 36 Summary