“I need you, the reader, to imagine us, for we don't really exist if you don't.”
“Lolita” contains probably the greatest example of the unreliable narrator. The stylistic device is employed so convincingly that readers even questioned Nabokov’s own character. So many believed that Nabokov shared Humbert’s preference for “nymphets,” that he ended up writing an afterword to dissect the various misconceptions.
Humbert toys with us and makes persuasive arguments for our sympathies. He is mocking, controlling and delusional, something we also become distracted from, as readers, thanks to his lyrical narration of the story.
This is how I see it, although others have claimed that Humbert is an honest narrator as he never denies his disgraceful actions.
What do you think? Is Humbert unreliable or honest?
Implementing What We Have Learned: Writing Prompt
One of the reasons Humbert is known to be an unreliable narrator is because he seeks to justify pedophilia and his questionable actions.
Build a character who has a dark secret, perhaps involved in something that would put them on the outskirts of society.
Write a scene or monologue where they seek to justify their actions, both deceiving and engaging the reader.