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. Once King Charles is outside his room he must escape from what part of the castle?

2. The final couplet of "Pale Fire" describes what image?

3. What are the two most important things in Shade's life?

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

5. When did John Shade begin Canto Two?

Short Essay Questions

1. How does John Shade understand life?

2. What do we learn about King Charles X in Canto Two?

3. Give some examples of translation as a theme in Canto One.

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

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

6. Describe John Shade's writing process.

7. Briefly describe Fleur.

8. What are two major criticisms John Shade has of his students? How is this ironic?

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

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

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

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?

Essay Topic 3

In the foreword, Kinbote suggests that the novel be read in a unique way.

How does he feel the novel should be read?

Why does he think it should be read this way?

What are your immediate thoughts on the narrator after he suggests this?

Why do you think Nabokov chooses to have Kinbote make this suggestion?

(see the answer keys)

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