As I have said elsewhere, I believe Carolyn, you make too much of the word roommate. Nabokov chose to refer to the future nun and the Korean boy as types that, in the college days of the fifties, would have been (fairly or not fairly isn't the issue) "outsiders" from the college life of the "big game" and dating and other big social high points for mainstream "insider" popular college kids.
The stanza serves to point up Hazel's "outsiderness." The term roommate is casual collegiate terminology like coed. Casual for Shade, who, as an oldster, is separated from student life. As casual as the use of the term would be to a Timofey Pnin, who had long ceased to be too much aware of students on the campus.
This is why Shade's choice of the word roommate has been accepted without
question for 40 years. Not because millions of readers around the world have
missed a clue to Shade's presumed philandering nature.
----- Original Message -----From: D. Barton JohnsonSent: Thursday, November 21, 2002 8:33 PMSubject: Fw: Ck replies to Jerry FriedmanEDNOTE: CK's note offers me the opportunity to point out that every work that has been sent on NABOKV-L from day 1 is available in its archive. Just go to http://listserv.ucsb.edu/lsv-cgi-bin/wa and follow the links. Then do a search for whatwever..----- Original Message -----From: Carolyn KuninSent: Thursday, November 21, 2002 8:08 AMSubject: Ck replies to Jerry FriedmanDear Jerry,
I think I can honestly say that although Pale Fire is 40 years old this year, in all that time no one has argued, conjectured or supposed that Hazel had a roommate. If I am incorrect on this rather obvious point, the burden of proof is on the other foot.
I believe I was the first to call attention to the anomaly of the reference to a roommate which Hazel, who lives at home, clearly does not have. If others noticed it before I called attention to it I sincerely hope they will be willing to come forward and say so. I believe that there are approximately 800 people on this list, and that some of them are much more knowledgeable than you or I as to what has been discussed in the literature on Pale Fire.
It is logical to infer that a student who lives at home with her parents in her own room without a paying guest does not have a roommate. If Hazel lives in a world where college students can both live at home and have roommates, then it was incumbent on the author to give us some evidence of this.
The reference to a roommate who appears to be Hazel's, is an anomaly. I infer that the author intended it to be an anomaly.