The Face of Evil

Essay by snoogansCollege, UndergraduateA+, April 2004

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During a lifetime, one sees many things that go beyond the realm of what we may want to deal with in our everyday lives. Horrific acts of violence and sexual malevolence are committed by people everyday. Yet, somehow, we just accept these facts. So how is it, exactly, that one deals emotionally with these morally decayed acts presented to us on a daily basis? Nowadays, terrifying acts of violence are pre-packaged and sold to us with our morning coffee. As we humbly usher our children out the door for school in the morning, we read in the paper that a local woman was raped and murdered. We watch on television as a crazed gunman tries to outrun the police and begins shooting at people. We have become accustomed to these events because we do not put a face on the people that commit these crimes. Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov is a novel that puts a face on a man who commits crimes against mainstream moral thought.

It paints the ugly things in life with bright colors and justifies events that would normally be seen as grotesque. You, as the reader, have to be witty enough to understand that Nabokov really was not advocating these disturbing images; he was in fact criticizing them. Nabokov's use of morally decrepit imagery in Lolita gives a personality to a pedophile as well as paints a picture for a deeper meaning to the story.

So what words come to mind when you hear the word "pedophile?" Monster, degenerate, criminal are just a few words that you might think of. In Lolita, Nabokov takes a man who might be considered to be all of these things and puts a face on him. Humbert is the main character of this novel and, therefore, has a very round...