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 thinks John Shade enjoyed more "creative freedom" during the composition of which Canto?

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

3. How do the extremists think King Charles will try to escape Zembla?

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

5. What did Charles Kinbote do with the cat?

Short Essay Questions

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

2. Briefly describe the supernatural occurrences in Canto Two.

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

4. What is Kinbote's secret?

5. How is Kinbote critical of Professor Hurley?

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

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

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

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

10. Briefly describe the IPH.

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

Make a list of names Charles Kinbote attributes to people and places in Zembla.

What do you notice about these names?

What do these names tell us about Kinbote, and potentially about Zembla?

Why do you think Nabokov chose to name these places the way he did?

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

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?

(see the answer keys)

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