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Vladmir Nabokov is considered to be one of the most masterful writers of his time. His prose is beautiful and he weaves intricacies in his works that catch the reader’s eye and allow for multiple interpretations of each text. In the novel Lolita, Nabokov uses the image of Humbert’s gun to parallel the character of Humbert himself. Humbert’s decaying outward appearance, helplessness and skewed self image are mirrored in descriptions of his gun throughout the novel. In the modern world, a gun can be linked to both violence and protection, and the parallel of a gun to Humbert illustrates how he is unable to separate violence from protection.
From very early in the text it is evident that Humbert Humbert sees himself as a rather comely human specimen, continually stating that he is “an exceptionally good looking male”, though his arrogance about his looks leads us to doubt the truth of his words (25). His image of himself as a striking man is echoed in his description of his gun. “There, snuggly wrapped in a white woolen scarf, lay a pocket automatic: caliber .32, capacity of the magazine 8 cartridges, length a little under one ninth of Lolita’s length, stock a checked walnut, finish full blued” (216). What is written here lends us a picture of an exquisitely made instrument that is powerful in its ability to take a life. Yet such power is hidden by it being finely attired in a white woolen scarf. Such is how Humbert sees himself, the device of protection for Lolita that is clev...