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 do the people of Zembla aid in King Charles' flight?

2. Who is the previous inhabitant of Charles Kinbote's house?

3. What is the first metaphor Shade uses to describe himself?

4. When did John Shade begin Canto Two?

5. Canto Four contains a metaphor comparing this activity to John Shade's writing process?

Short Essay Questions

1. How is Kinbote critical of Professor Hurley?

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

3. What is Kinbote's secret?

4. What is significant about the bird in Canto One?

5. Describe John Shade's writing process.

6. Briefly describe King Alfin the Vague.

7. How does John Shade understand life?

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

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

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

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

Using specific examples from the book, describe how Nabokov uses color and climate to describe the setting and characters in Pale Fire, both in the poem and in the commentary.

Do you think this is effective? Why or why not?

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

Cite specific examples of supernatural events in the novel Pale Fire.

How does Nabokov incorporate both real and phony supernatural events (such as fake seances) into the novel?

Why do you think he chooses to handle these events in such a manner?

What does this accomplish?

(see the answer keys)

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