Chapters 32-33 Summary

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Lying in bed, eating fruit and potato chips, Lolita explains how she came to lose her virginity so young. Last summer, at a summer camp, she shared a tent with a girl named Elizabeth Talbot, the daughter of an executive, who coached Lolita in a variety of homosexual lovemaking techniques. Hearing this, Humbert remembers that Charlotte used to brag about Lolita’s friendship with the little Talbot girl. He asks if either girl’s mother knew anything about their daughters’ lesbian experiments. Lolita says no, and she is clearly aghast at the idea that either mother could find out.

This last summer at camp, Lolita and an older girl, Barbara Burke, played sex games with thirteen-year-old Charlie Holmes, the son of the camp director. At first Lolita only stood look-out while the other two had intercourse behind a rock. After a while, however, Lolita grew curious and decided to try sex herself. She says it was “sort of fun,” but it is clear that she saw it only as a game. She never had any romantic interest in Charlie.

Soon Lolita falls into a bad mood. She takes a shower, and then she tries on some of the clothes Humbert has bought her. When she is not satisfied with the way things fit, she throws them across the room. She ends up putting on the same dress she wore yesterday. A little overwhelmed at her behavior, he gives her some money for a magazine and sends her down to the lobby.

When she is gone, Humbert carefully makes the bed. Afterward, he packs his bags and gets dressed. Then he hurries downstairs, half-afraid that Lolita will have run away. But she is sitting in a chair, reading a magazine. She looks like an ordinary little girl, but it soon becomes clear that the morning's activities have taken a hard toll on her. At breakfast, she is silent. Afterward, when she gets into the car, she grimaces with pain. Humbert begins to worry that he has hurt her:

This was a lone child, an absolute waif, with whom a heavy-limbed, foul-smelling adult had had strenuous intercourse three times that very morning.

However, Humbert’s guilt cannot dampen his libido. As he drives Lolita out of town, he scans the sides of the road for a likely place to stop and have sex again. When he hints at what he would like to do, she flatly refuses. In the next breath, she smiles and says, “I ought to call the police and tell them you raped me.” This terrifies him. He does not know if she is joking or not, but he cannot help noticing that she seems almost hysterical.

At the next gas station, Lolita demands coins, saying she wants to call her mother. Humbert refuses to give her anything. Instead he orders her into the car and drives away. She asks why he will not let her call her mother. Too terrified to censor himself, he snaps, “Because your mother is dead.”

In the next town, Lepingville, Humbert makes a pathetic attempt to make Lolita feel better. He buys her comic books, candy, maxi pads, sodas, jewelry, clothes, roller skates, travel gear, sunglasses, and more. He takes her to a hotel and pays for a separate room for her, but in the night she comes to him, weeping. “You see," he writes, "she had absolutely nowhere else to go.”

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Chapters 30-31 Summary


Chapter 34 Summary