• The poem "Pale Fire" is the last, unfinished work by the poet John Shade, who has recently died.
• Charles Kinbote is introduced as the narrator, and then editor of the poem. He is a professor at Wordsmith University, where he worked with John Shade.
• We learn of the poem's structure, four Canto's totaling 1,000 lines.
• Charles Kinbote tells the story of how he came into possession of the poem.
• Kinbote interjects himself into the foreword.
Pale Fire, Canto One
• The first image of the poem is a bird crashing into a window.
• The poem is autobiographical.
• The first canto depicts John Shade's youth.
• John Shade's parents died when he was young and he was raised by his aunt.
Pale Fire, Canto Two
• John Shade ponders life after death.
• His aunt has a stroke and is moved into a sanitarium.
• John Shade writes about how much...
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