Tear Jerker / Lolita

  • During one of the final scenes of the book, when Humbert asks Lolita to explain why she doesn't feel resentment towards Quilty for molesting her and attempting to exploit her, he imagines her response. "He broke her heart. I merely broke her life."
  • Lolita goes on to live a normal life, in a happy marriage only to die giving birth to her first child, who was stillborn.
  • Near the end of the book, Humbert recalls a moment when after Lolita has left him, he hears the laughter of children in a school playground, and realizes that "the hopelessly poignant thing was not the absence of Lolita from my side, but the absence of her voice from that concord."
    • Although given that Humbert always wants our sympathy, this could be him deliberately wearing the mask of a Stoic Woobie. As always in Nabokov, you decide.
      • Since elsewhere in the book, Humbert's expressions of remorse are always in the context of feeling sorry for having done things to her which he likes to make out he can't stop himself from doing, but this is the only moment where he goes as far as to imagine her being happy away from him (in fact, that she'd've been better off if she'd never even met him), it's possible that this is Humbert's brief flicker of genuine conscience. In the Lyne movie, it's played as such.
  • The moment when Humbert meets a 17-year-old Lo and realises that he loves her as a person, not just because she was a child. Coming from the man who repeatedly abused her, that "love" obviously doesn't mean anything, but it's especially heartbreaking to see that Humbert began to understand what he's done to Lolita way. too. late.
    • YMMV. Humbert may have genuinely come to love Delores once he sees her as a wife and future-mother. One of the reasons the book is such a classic is because of its wildly different interpretations, after all, and just because you're a paedo doesn't mean you're 100% evil (even though society begs to differ.)
  • Dolores cries herself to sleep every night.
  • Dolores trades sexual favors for pocket money.
  • The Whole. Damn. Thing. One of the most heartbreaking and disturbing pieces of literature ever written.
  • Dolores's entire childhood. Made even more bitterly ironic by the fact that, had her mother not been hit by a car at the worst possible moment, she would've been sent off to boarding school, far, far away from Humbert, and presumably lived a long, happy life. But because of a sick twist of fate, her childhood was destroyed, and she dies at the age of eighteen.
  • Humbert's backstory involving Annabel Leigh. Sure, Humbert is a jerkass paedo, but Annabel was a genuinely nice young girl who tragically died. If you don't 100% hate Humbert & are willing to feel sympathy for him, you'll find it one of the few redeeming aspects of his personality.
  • In the novel and the 1997 film Dolores's and Humbert die however in Kubrick's film only Humbert dies. This makes Humbert death even more tragic, showing that by killing Quility he secured Dolores's is future at the cost of his own life.
  • Ennio Morricone's main theme for the 1997 film is a Descent into Darkness Song that evokes this. It starts off sounding like a standard soundtrack for a romantic drama, but the notes become increasingly downbeat and off-key as the music goes on. It does the job of contrasting Humbert's fantasies about Lolita with the twisted reality of their relationship.