Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Rei Magosaki

Second Advisor

Morgan Read-Davidson


This thesis examines the competing frameworks in Vladimir Nabokov’s Lolita—the fictional Foreword written by John Ray, Jr., Ph.D. and the manuscript written by Humbert Humbert—in order to understand to what extent the construction manipulates the rhetorical appeal. While previous scholarship isolates the two narrators or focuses on their unreliability, my examination concentrates on the interplay of the frameworks and how their conflicting objectives can be problematic for readers. By drawing upon various theories by Michel Foucault from Power/Knowledge and Louis Althusser’s “On Ideology,” I look into how John Ray, Jr., Ph.D. and Humbert Humbert use authoritative voices to directly address readers with a specific duty, as “parents, social workers, educators” and “ladies of the gentleman,” and I question to what extent this can force readers to unwillingly forfeit their authority in order to adopt an alternative disciplinary gaze in pursuit of a premeditated idea of truth and justice. Using the concept of truth and justice, I explore how psychological discourse and the court are made up of ideologies that operate like the Panopticon, and I question where readers fit despite the strong influence exerted on to them by this structure.



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