by Vladimir Nabokov
Symbolism, Imagery, Allegory
America is one of the most prominent "symbols" in the book (for extended discussion see "Visions of America" under Themes). What America stands for – consumerism, kitsch culture, excessive advertising – is more of an allegory than a symbol. Humbert makes a lot of the differences between old Europe and the relatively new America, which he closely associates with Lolita and her desires. Charlotte embodies some of the worst of American tastes an impulses, in particular the bourgeois inclination to appear sophisticated by cluttering one's house with international knick-knacks. To Charlotte, Humbert is the epitome of European elegance and intelligence; by having him in her home, she hopes that some of that class will rub off on her.