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by Vladimir Nabokov

Lolita Book 2, Chapter 3 Summary

  • Humbert cannot help but notice that Lolita is moving from indifference toward him to repulsion. That hurts.
  • He admits that he is always trying to liberate himself from memories of his first nymphet, Miss. Leigh. He is haunted by their adolescent caresses on the beach.
  • He enjoys having sex with Lolita in beautiful outdoor surroundings – though such places can be dangerous, as he finds out one day when a woman picking flowers sees them in post-coital embrace.
  • Over the course of the year, they attend about 150 movies. Lolita loves the melodramatic, silly meaningless ones and Humbert enjoys sitting in the dark groping her. Again, he almost gets caught.
  • Humbert digresses into thoughts of the legal aspects of his relationship to Lolita. Is he a legal guardian? Should he pursue this role? Does he want the attention from the courts? He could ask his old friend and neighbor Mr. Farlow, but he is too busy taking care of his wife, Jean, who now has cancer.
  • Feeling pangs that he is not providing an education for Lolita, they settle in Beardsley where she will go to a school for girls and he can teach at the local women's college. He can also hang out with an old friend named Gaston Godin.
  • Humbert's income is getting low, so there's the money issue too. They return after a year of travel. As he cynically puts it, "We had been everywhere. We had really seen nothing" (2.3.19).
  • Lolita sobs in bed every night. Unable to deal, Humbert pretends that he is sleeping.

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