Pale Fire Test | Mid-Book Test - Hard

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This test consists of 5 short answer questions, 10 short essay questions, and 1 (of 3) essay topics.

Short Answer Questions

1. How does John Shade's daughter die?

2. How do the Shade's spend the evening of their daughter's blind date?

3. Of the following, which has been added to Shade's childhood home?

4. How does John Shade refer to the I.P.H.?

5. What happened to Shade's parents when he was a boy?

Short Essay Questions

1. Briefly describe Fleur.

2. Name some sports at which Kinbote is proficient.

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

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

5. How is Kinbote critical of Professor Hurley?

6. How does John Shade understand life?

7. What does John Shade ponder in the beginning of Canto Two?

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

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

10. Briefly describe John Shade's vision of the after-life.

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

Describe the way Nabokov uses flashbacks in the novel Pale Fire. How many instances are there? How do flashbacks help propel the plot? How would this story have been different if it were written in present tense?

Essay Topic 2

On pages 100-107 in the commentary on line 71: Parents, Kinbote describes King Alfin the Vague.

Compare what is known of Kinbote to this point in the story with his portrayal of King Alfin.

What function or functions does King Alfin serve?

Essay Topic 3

Write an argument supporting the claim that Charles Kinbote is in fact the assassin. Use examples from the text.

(see the answer keys)

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