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. Where did Kinbote and Shade meet?

2. King Alfin the Vague was an amateur______ .

3. Which Pope is mentioned in the commentary to Line 85?

4. A fellow-professor calls Charles Kinbote by what nickname?

5. Who does King Charles finally marry?

Short Essay Questions

1. How is Kinbote critical of Professor Hurley?

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

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

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

5. Briefly describe King Alfin the Vague.

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

7. What clues do you see that Charles Kinbote may not be what he seems?

8. Briefly describe Fleur.

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

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

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

Using specific examples from the novel, compile the verses of poetry that were omitted from the poem "Pale Fire."

Why do you think Nabokov chooses to include these verses in the novel, but not the poem?

Essay Topic 2

At what point in the novel did you suspect Charles Kinbote was not mentally sound?

How does his dementia progress throughout the novel?

How does his grasp of reality change the way you perceive the events of the novel?

Do you think Zembla is a real place in the world created by Nabokov in Pale Fire, or a figment of Charles Kinbote's imagination?

Essay Topic 3

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?

(see the answer keys)

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