Sample Essay

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In comparison of the three works: Lolita, The Lottery, and Hills like White Elephants it is necessary to observe the latter two authors are American and the former is a Russian emigrant to America. Each author criticizes different aspects of American culture. Criticism as the basis of the story was only apparent in The Lottery whereas Lolita and Hills like White Elephants were based on the author’s ability to use language with criticisms of American culture ingrained in the plot.

Lolita is the story of a middle-aged European man who is obsessed with prepubescent girls due to a childhood infatuation that ended in tragedy. It is the story of Humbert and how he robs a child of her innocence while portraying a sympathetic image of himself to the reader of his book. Throughout the entire book there is an obvious set up of differences between European and American culture. In the novel Humbert describes Europe that his is upbringing in Europe has made him unique unlike the Americans. He also attracts a lot of attention from American woman because of his European pompadour and charm. Although the book is about a European man robbing the childhood of an American child Vladimir Nabokov’s skill lies in convincing the audience otherwise. Vladimir make a pedophiles case seem sympathetic through the use of language and develops the story in a way that makes the reader believe that it is American child who is playing the role of seductress and not vice versa. This can be viewed as the author’s skill in writing or his criticism of American culture.

Vladimir criticizes American culture to be incompatible with European culture. This is highlighted in the story when Humbert marries Charlotte Haze and tries to educate and culture her according to European standards. Although Charlotte wants to be placed on a higher pedestal in Humbert’s eyes she fails repeatedly and Humbert ignores all her attempts as hopeless. When Charlotte dies and Humbert starts a perverted relationship with her daughter Dolores (Lolita) he becomes unsatisfied by what he had longed for. Humbert describes this phase of his life as a man seduced by a 12 year old shallow American girl. He takes himself far away from the reality that Lolita is probably not happy by her current situation and feels like a prisoner due to circumstances she cannot get away from. Eventually Lolita runs away with an American man and proves once again the theme of Ameri-Euro incompatibility in the novel.

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