The controversial and well-known Lolita by Nabokov forces us to address taboo topics and confusing realities in a way that only art can do. How do relationships often represent unrealistic ideals? Despite the novel’s taboo subject matter, can it teach us something about the dynamics of normal relationships? How do different art forms allow us to address immoral behaviors, social faux-pas, or the negative features of our human condition productively?
In this story, the protagonist has been battling a chronic condition for many years. There has been ups and down, but he is faced with a decision about freedom and living which could have drastic implications. All will die, but how? All will suffer, but how? All have the opportunity to find freedom in some thing, or some action, but the implication and vastness of the human freedom may be defined only in the individual’s heart.
What does the continued relevance of vampire stories say about humans’ natural inclination to ostracize the ‘other?’ How have modern vampire tales changed this narrative? Could this evolution of thought be representative of an evolved human condition? What do vampire tales say about our fear of the dead, or mass hysteria associated with things we do not understand?
How do we keep our emotionality in check? As a species, what regulatory mechanisms do we employ to balance negative and positive experiences? Does society influence our psychological balancing act, or is this primarily an individual responsibility?
Is the impulse to commit suicide born of anger and aggression or desperation and fear? Can we make a generalizable claim regarding the reasons an individual takes his/her own life? Do we ever really understand the things we do, or are we just rationalizing our actions and the actions of others after the fact?
How do we maintain our humanity in the face of worldwide panic? How do we stay close despite distance? How do we build bridges across island universes?