Skip to main content


Far from being a simple and straight-forward parable of good and evil, Nabokov’s infamous novel entitled Lolita artfully creates a vast “grey area” of morality for the audience to become lost in. This presentation will focus specifically on the concept of guilt and innocence in an abusive relationship and explore the complexities that often lead to victim-blaming, either by society, acquaintances, or the abused person herself. I will highlight some of the subtle clues which clarify the murky situation between Humbert Humbert and Dolores Haze, including how he refuses the child personhood by consistently referring to her by the nickname Lolita during most of the novel. I will also demonstrate that despite Humbert’s attempts to shift blame onto the child, the glimpses we receive at various points in the text show Dolores Haze to be a strong character who makes the best of being in a difficult situation. I will also show how, at the end of Lolita, the reader who has thought critically about the issues raised by the novel has a new and well-earned understanding of the line between guilt and innocence--not just in the lives of the characters from the world inside the novel but also in the situations frequently observed in today’s media, social networks, and even in the reader’s own life.


This is a metadata-only record.



  • Subject
    • English

  • Institution
    • Oconee

  • Event location
    • SRC 522

  • Event date
    • 2 April 2015

  • Date submitted

    18 July 2022

  • Additional information
    • Acknowledgements:

      Dr. Matthew Horton