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Lolita - Research Paper Example

Censorship in and of itself is not a new ideal that is somehow unique to the 20th or 21st century. Instead, what can be displayed and discussed within a society dates back to the very earliest civilizations. Within such an understanding, this particular analysis will consider Vladimir Nabokov’s novel Lolita. Interestingly, although critics of the past rejected this work and claimed it’s to be nothing more than “smut”, the level of appreciation for this novel has not particularly increased over time. Instead, people, even within current society, remain deeply divided with regards to whether Nabokov’s book is merely filth in print or retains a level of intellectual merit. Most specifically, arguments against this particular book have focused upon the means by which they believe it is merely a pornographic per trail of a relationship between an older man and a desperately young, naive, and misinformed young woman. Rather than merely attempting to prove that it is pornographic or is not pornographic based upon instinct or reaction to the text in question, this brief analysis will delve more deeply into what can and should be considered pornographic and whether or not Lolita ascribes to such a definition. According to Merriam-Webster’s dictionary, pornography is defined as “printed or visual material containing explicit description or display of sexual organs or activity”. Within such a rigid and constrained definition of what equates to pornography, it must be noted that Vladimir Nabokov’s

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Lolita most certainly fits within this definition. In short, graphic description an illustration of both sexual organs and activity are regularly defined in chapters 1 through 15 of the book in question. However, rather than this in and of itself be a damning facet of the novel’s merit or overall importance within the field of literature, it is the argument of this author that pornographic illustrations or discussions in literature alone should not be grounds for censorship. The reader should consider the fact that many of the novels in Western literature contain graphic illustrations of murder, cruelty, torture, and extreme forms of violence (Mong tai Chan et al 71). However, none of these activities are condoned by the societies that have produced these great works of literature. For instance, one should consider the fact that one of the most famous American novels of all time, The Great Gatsby, includes elements of adultery and murder. Yet, even though the society of that time nor even the society today condoned such actions within the moral framework, there has been no great and overarching call to have this novel pulled from the shelves and censored (Norman 188). Moreover, although it is the understanding and belief of this student that the graphic illustrations and portrayal of the relationship that is engaged between Nabokov’s main character and the underage girl is reprehensible, it is nonetheless a very real element of society that unfortunately exists (Wepler 78). In such a way, merely choosing to ignore this topic or century it does not change the fact that elements within society nonetheless engage in such base and morally horrendous actions (Graves 94). In such a way, the question then becomes not whether or not the reader agrees with the actions that are


Artistic expression and current definitions of morality have oftentimes been in direct contrast with one another. For instance, sculptures and art of recent centuries pushed the very boundaries of what can be considered acceptable within the times and traditions that these were created…
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