I read Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov, the tragic story of a pedophile's obsession with a little girl, this fall and it blew my mind. I read it twice before purchasing an annotated version, which revealed to me how intricate the book really is. I picked up on the protagonist's manipulation of language in order to warp the truth on my own, but not until I read the annotations did I notice Nabokov's use of involution or literary allusions. This may sound a bit pretentious, but it was so satisfying to understand all the tricks at work in the writing. So I've compiled a cheat sheet/list of some motifs, devices, and patterns to look for when reading Lolita.
1. Colors: Especially patterns of colors surrounding certain characters or emotions.
2. Quilty: It's an important name and it appears in different forms throughout the book, even before the character to which it belongs is introduced.
3. "Annabel Lee": The speaker alludes to this poem and its author, Edgar Allen Poe, in order to draw a favorable comparison to his own depraved "romance."
4. Freud-Bashing: Nabokov thought Freud's theories were garbage. It's fun to watch him trash the Oedipal complex and Freudian educators through Lolita :)
5. Coincidences: Numbers repeat in different situations. Anagrams reveal startling identities. Nabokov liked to play with the details of his plots for the sole purpose of showing that he was in control. He had quite an ego :P