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. What does Shade find out when he tracks down the woman who had the same vision of the after-life that he did?

2. "Pale Fire" is broken up into how many cantos?

3. "Forty ounces of fine sand" describes what in Canto One?

4. Which pair best describe the prominent motifs of the first Canto?

5. What did Charles Kinbote do with the cat?

Short Essay Questions

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

2. How does Kinbote characterize his relationship with John Shade?

3. Briefly describe King Alfin the Vague.

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

5. What is Kinbote's secret?

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

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

8. How does John Shade understand life?

9. Briefly describe Fleur.

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

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

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 2

How does Nabokov use references of other literary works in his novel Pale Fire? Give as many examples of references to other works as you can from the text, and describe what Nabokov accomplishes by including them in the novel.

Essay Topic 3

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?

(see the answer keys)

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