Pale Fire Test | Mid-Book Test - Medium

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This test consists of 5 multiple choice questions, 5 short answer questions, and 10 short essay questions.

Multiple Choice Questions

1. When did John Shade meet his wife?
(a) During the depression.
(b) 40 years ago.
(c) After his parents' funeral.
(d) Their senior year of high school.

2. Which best describes Kinbote's reason for rejecting the offer by the first potential publisher of "Pale Fire"?
(a) Kinbote would not have full editorial control.
(b) Sybil Shade would not recieve her full share of the profits.
(c) He made Kinbote responsible for any errors in the commentary.
(d) He would not let Kinbote translate the poem into Zemblan.

3. "Forty ounces of fine sand" describes what in Canto One?
(a) Snow falling from the sky.
(b) The texture of a windowpane.
(c) A length of time.
(d) A bird's nest.

4. In the commentary to Line 137, what phrase, used by John Shade in "Pale Fire", does Kinbote claim has no real meaning?
(a) lemniscate.
(b) Waxing slain.
(c) caramen.
(d) unicrursal.

5. Which of the following best describes the pervading theme of Canto Four?
(a) John Shade's relationship with Charles Kinbote.
(b) John Shade's time in Zembla.
(c) John Shade's relationship with his family.
(d) John Shade's writing process.

Short Answer Questions

1. Kinbote leaves his blinds open to give him a better view of what?

2. What does Kinbote do during John Shade's birthday party?

3. Which of the following is not mentioned by Shade in Canto One?

4. Which pair best describe the prominent motifs of the first Canto?

5. What did Charles Kinbote do with the cat?

Short Essay Questions

1. How are Gradus and Kinbote similar?

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

3. How is Kinbote's birthday gift for Shade representative of Kinbote's commentary of the poem?

4. Provide an example or two of the reflection motif found between the commentary to lines 131 and the commentary to lines 162.

5. What events lead to the death of John Shade's daughter?

6. Describe John Shade's writing process.

7. Name some sports at which Kinbote is proficient.

8. What are some ways Kinbote tries to make the poem be about himself as opposed to Shade's childhood?

9. Give examples from the text of reasons that the Extremists are unable to find King Charles once he escapes.

10. How does Charles Kinbote portray himself in the foreword?

(see the answer keys)

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