Chapter 59 Summary

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Rita is twice Lolita’s age, but she is petite and somewhat girlish in appearance. When Humbert meets her, she is “amiably drunk” and clearly interested in sex with him. He does not feel much attraction, but he decides “to give her a try.” She is friendly and sweet, but she is a complete disaster. Her brother, a small-town mayor, actually pays her to stay away from him because he does not want to deal with the scandals that follow her around. She has been divorced three times, and she is constantly drunk or in some kind of trouble. Humbert likes her very much, and he sticks with her for years.

Humbert explains to Rita that he wants to go to California to find a girl and kill the girl's bully. This idea pleases Rita, who is too stupid to notice any lies that Humbert sprinkles into his story. Her lack of intelligence does not bother him, and he takes her disasters in stride. During their adventures in California, she gets mixed up with a thug, and Humbert rescues her. Another time she tries to play Russian roulette with Humbert’s pistol, and she ends up shooting a hole in a hotel wall.

After searching California thoroughly, Humbert and Rita give up and move to New York. On the drive east, they spend much of their time in an alcoholic haze, and one morning they both wake up to find an extra man in their room. He is wearing nothing but his underwear and a pair of army boots. When they wake him, he accuses them of stealing his memory. They cannot figure out who he is, so they take him to the hospital, and as far as they know he never recovers from his amnesia.

This experience inspires Humbert to write an article called “Mimir and Memory,” which gains high praise. Because of it, he is invited to spend a nine-month residency at a small institution called Catnip College, where he lives in a little apartment. Rita comes along but stays in a hotel, where Humbert visits her from time to time. One day she disappears, and it takes him a month to realize that she is in jail for some obscure reason involving a man, his wife, and a stolen set of expensive furs. Humbert is proud of himself when he manages to bail her out without having to call her brother.

Humbert no longer thinks he will find Lolita, so he just tries to relive his memories of their time together. On one occasion, Humbert and Rita pass near the Enchanted Hunters, the first inn where he stayed with Lolita. He visits the library in town and searches old newspapers from the date of his first stay there. He thinks he might find some vague image of himself from the past, but he does not. Eventually he returns to Rita, who is in the middle of a fight with an old man. Humbert pulls her away, injuring himself slightly in the process, and takes her to the park, where she tearfully informs him that he will someday leave her, just as every man does.

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Chapters 57-58 Summary


Chapter 60 Summary