Pale Fire Short Essay - Answer Key

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1. How does Nabokov immediately create an artificial reality in the foreword to the novel Pale Fire?

Nabokov does not write a traditional foreword to his novel Pale Fire. Instead it is a fictitious foreword to the fictitious poem "Pale Fire," written by Nabokov's character, John Shade. This immediately places the reader in the artificial reality of the novel, which is layered with truth and fantasy.

2. How does Kinbote characterize his relationship with John Shade?

Kinbote claims the two are good friends. Kinbote values John Shade's artistic abilities and admires his poetry. They are neighbors and both work at Wordsmith University.

3. Cite an early clue that Charles Kinbote is an unreliable narrator.

In the Commentary, Charles Kinbote mentions that the deal which made him the sole editor of "Pale Fire" has been widely criticized. After mentioning this, there is an obvious misprint in the text.

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