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. While he makes his way through the mountains, King Charles stops to spend the night in which of the following places?

2. Where did Kinbote and Shade meet?

3. During the forward Charles Kinbote oddly notes that he is distracted by who/what?

4. Of the following, which has been added to Shade's childhood home?

5. During what time of the year does John Shade prefer to write?

Short Essay Questions

1. What do we learn about John Shade's Aunt Maud in Canto One?

2. Briefly describe King Alfin the Vague.

3. Briefly describe Fleur.

4. What is Kinbote's secret?

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

6. Describe John Shade's writing process.

7. How does John Shade understand life?

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

9. Briefly describe the supernatural occurrences in Canto Two.

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

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

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?

Essay Topic 3

On pages 100-107 in the commentary on line 71: Parents, Kinbote describes King Alfin the Vague.

Compare what is known of Kinbote to this point in the story with his portrayal of King Alfin.

What function or functions does King Alfin serve?

(see the answer keys)

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