In a joint effort with our friends at Camp Nutria (the attempt of some Austinites at regressing in style), Gather Round, Children brings you the first in a series of questions meant to guide readers safely through the dialectic without getting chewed up by the many pages, the flowy prose, or the loquacity of that guy who will not admit that he has only read the first 30 pages and got the gist of the rest of it from the internet. (Hint: When that guy pauses to reload intellectual jargon, simply cut in with, “Next question.”)
Lolita: Discussion Questions
1. What do you think of the cover of the book? The one with the sexy lips on it? Do you find the lips to be sexy? If you do, does that make you a pedophile?
2. According to the first chapter, Dolores Haze had many names: Lo, Lola, Lolita, etc. Discuss other figures in popular culture who have many names. (Example: Sean “Puffy” Combs or Jennifer Lopez, who dated each other for a time.) Is it a coincidence that Jennifer Lopez goes by J-Lo and Dolores goes by “Lo, plain Lo, in the morning” or is Lopez consciously drawing a parallel between herself and Haze, hoping she will remain young in the eyes of her public? If yes, did the semi-creepy gamble pay off? If no, you have to admit that it’s quite a coincidence.
3. Look out the window. What do you see?
4. Should Humbert be admired for writing so eloquently while in prison? You know what they do to pedophiles in prison, don’t you?
5. Have you ever dated someone because you were interested in one of his or her family members? How did that work out for you?
6. If gay marriage is ever legalized, won’t guys like Humbert just be running rampant?
7. Lolita had her first sexual experience at summer camp. Is this common? Go around the room and discuss your own “summer camp firsts”. Include smoking/drug use in addition to kissing/more than kissing. Do these experiences make you hesitant about sending your own children to summer camp?
8. What song is playing through each of your heads right now? If two of you had the same song in your head, laugh at what a coincidence that is.
9. Humbert murders Quilty. Was that the right thing to do? Is there a “Quilty” in your own life (someone you have killed)?
10. In the movie, Quilty is played by Peter Sellers. Are any modern character actors as interesting as Sellers? Johnny Depp?
11. Would you let Vladimir Nabakov baby-sit your daughter?