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Pale Fire Summary
Vladimir Nabokov

Everything you need to understand or teach Pale Fire by Vladimir Nabokov.

  • Pale Fire Summary & Study Guide
  • 3 Literature Criticism
  • ...and more
  • 30 Pale Fire Lessons
  • 20 Activities
  • 180 Multiple Choice Questions
  • 60 Short Essay Questions
  • 20 Essay Questions
  • Pre-Made Tests and Quizzes
  • ...and more

Pale Fire Summary

Plot Summary

To initial appearances, Pale Fire is the final, unfinished poem by renowned poet John Shade, with a forward and commentary by fellow university instructor Charles Kinbote. However, through the commentary, this novel becomes the story Charles Kinbote longs to tell, the story of Charles X, the exiled, beloved king of Zembla. Kinbote proves himself an unreliable narrator, and the reader must attempt to discern the layers of illusive truth behind the tale.

In the fictitious forward, Kinbote introduces the poet John Shade and the 999-line unfinished poem called "Pale Fire" that he wrote in the last month of his life. Kinbote proves himself to be at odds with other critics of Shade and introduces himself as a neighbor and friend of the late poet.

The poem itself includes imagery of reflection and focuses on themes of death. An autobiographical work, it details Shade's relationship with his wife and...

(read more from the Study Guide)

Study Pack

The Pale Fire Study Pack contains about 114 pages of study material in 10 products, including:

Pale Fire Study Guide

Lesson Plan

All teaching products sold separately.

Pale Fire Lesson Plans contain 151 pages of teaching material, including:

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