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. Charles Kinbote "mercifully " attributes this name to one professor, perhaps due to his green jacket.

2. John Shade is skeptical but he wants to believe in what?

3. In the commentary to Line 137, what phrase, used by John Shade in "Pale Fire", does Kinbote claim has no real meaning?

4. Which of the following best describes John Shade's idea of life on earth?

5. What typically goes on at the I.P.H.?

Short Essay Questions

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

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

3. How does John Shade describe himself as a youth in Canto One?

4. Briefly describe Fleur.

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

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

7. What are some early examples of reflection as a theme in the poem "Pale Fire?"

8. What are a few of John Shade's pet peeves?

9. Briefly describe the IPH.

10. Give a brief synopsis of King Charles' escape.

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

Compare the way Charles Kinbote portrays himself vs. the way he is viewed by others. Based on his actions, how would you describe the "real" Charles Kinbote? Based on your description of Kinbote, and the difference in the way he is perceived by others compared to his view of himself, write an essay commenting on Nabokov's choice to have a person like this narrate the story instead of writing the novel with a third-person omniscient narrator describing Kinbote, his treatment of "Pale Fire" and his relationships with the other characters in the novel.

Essay Topic 2

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

Essay Topic 3

On page 156, in the commentary to Line 172, John Shade bemoans the way most of his students read and interpret literature.

Relate Shade's thoughts in the final paragraph on page 156 to the way Kinbote interprets the poem "Pale Fire."

How does Kinbote respond to Shade's commentary?

What does this tell us about Kinbote?

(see the answer keys)

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