cancelled

az09

Senior Member
Chinese
Could someone please clarify to me the meanings of phrase "cancelled child" in following sentences:

All at once I remembered the ingratiating grin of the Johnny nextdoor. I stepped out quickly. All cars had disappeared except his station wagon; his pregnant young wife was now getting into it with her baby and the other, more or less cancelled, child.
Lolita by Nabokov.

Thank you so much!
 
  • Anaiss

    Senior Member
    Italiano - Veneto
    Hi :) I don't know if it a correct interpretation, but I would take it as if the parents stopped paying attention to the other child, being occupied only with the new pregnancy.
    Is "the other child" from another marriage?
     

    az09

    Senior Member
    Chinese
    Shortly before above situation, there was a sentence about this woman:

    On the grass expanse opposite, in the many-limbed shade of luxuriant trees, the familiar St. Bernard dog was guarding his mistress’ bicycle, and nearby a young woman, far gone in the family way, had seated a rapt baby on a swing and was rocking it gently, while a jealous boy of two or three was making a nuisance of himself by trying to push or pull the swing board; he finally succeeded in getting himself knocked down by it, and bawled loudly as he lay supine on the grass while his mother continued to smile gently at neither of her present children.
     

    Anaiss

    Senior Member
    Italiano - Veneto
    Ok, so it seems that this woman has some problems in dealing with her children, with the eldest one in particular.
    She does not pay attention to whatever he's doing, so he is cancelled (from her mind).
    This is my opinion :)
     

    az09

    Senior Member
    Chinese
    Ok, so it seems that this woman has some problems in dealing with her children, with the eldest one in particular.
    She does not pay attention to whatever he's doing, so he is cancelled (from her mind).
    This is my opinion :)
    Thank you so much.
     

    e2efour

    Senior Member
    UK English
    I found a lecture on the internet dealing with this expression. Unfortunately, I didn't understand it!
    Apparently the word cancelled is used to describe children who have had their childhood taken away from them (through neglect?). It only seems to have been used by Nabokov.
    The lecture (Chapter 3 is relevant) can be read at http://www.academicroom.com/video/american-novel-1945-vladimir-nabokov-lolita-cont-lecture-7-26

    "So, here are at least three examples of canceled children, and you can use that phrase, I think, to characterize Lolita. She is a canceled child. Her childhood is stolen from her by Humbert. In this scene, it is the mother's imaginative preoccupation, in a sense, that cancels her children, and you can ask whether she is preoccupied with the idea of the new child within her."
     

    az09

    Senior Member
    Chinese
    I found a lecture on the internet dealing with this expression. Unfortunately, I didn't understand it!
    Apparently the word cancelled is used to describe children who have had their childhood taken away from them (through neglect?). It only seems to have been used by Nabokov.
    The lecture (Chapter 3 is relevant) can be read at http://www.academicroom.com/video/american-novel-1945-vladimir-nabokov-lolita-cont-lecture-7-26

    "So, here are at least three examples of canceled children, and you can use that phrase, I think, to characterize Lolita. She is a canceled child. Her childhood is stolen from her by Humbert. In this scene, it is the mother's imaginative preoccupation, in a sense, that cancels her children, and you can ask whether she is preoccupied with the idea of the new child within her."
    Thank you.
     
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