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. How does John Shade understand his life?
(a) Through religion.
(b) Through the love of his daughter.
(c) Through his wife's love.
(d) Through his poetry.

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

3. John Shade gives a lecture on what in Canto Three?
(a) Birds.
(b) Poetry.
(c) Death.
(d) Zembla.

4. In the commentary to Line 181, Shade produces a book by what author and shows it to Sybil Shade?
(a) Vladimir Nabokov.
(b) Proust.
(c) William Shakespeare.
(d) John Shade.

5. John Shade criticizes his students for which of the following transgressions?
(a) Reading stupidly.
(b) Talking about Zembla.
(c) Writing "irony" in the margins of their books.
(d) Using cliches.

Short Answer Questions

1. John Shade recites his poetry to one person prior to its publication. Who is that person?

2. During what time of the year does John Shade prefer to write?

3. Charles Kinbote thinks the reference to "that crystal land" in line 12 refers to what place?

4. Charles Kinbote wants the reader to see the image of who/what after reading the lines 131-132, "I was the waxing slain by feigned remoteness in the windowpane?"

5. In Canto Two we find that Shade's daughter had been vacationing in what faraway place?

Short Essay Questions

1. What is Kinbote's secret?

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

3. Briefly describe John and Sybil Shade's relationship.

4. List a few possible motivations for Shade's desire to learn more about the after-life.

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

6. Briefly describe King Alfin the Vague.

7. Does it surprise you that John Shade renounces religion yet he wants to believe in the after-life?

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

9. What was the original use of the secret passageway in the Zemblan castle? Where does it lead?

10. What do we learn about John Shade's Aunt Maud in Canto One?

(see the answer keys)

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