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. How many lines are in Canto Four?

3. Kinbote is steadfast in his assertion that "Pale Fire" was intended to be how many lines long?

4. How does King Charles flee Zembla?

5. After King Charles is out of the mountains, he receives a message to go to which of the following locations?

Short Essay Questions

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

2. How is Kinbote critical of Professor Hurley?

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

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

5. How does Charles Kinbote portray himself in the foreword?

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

7. Describe John Shade's writing process.

8. What does John Shade ponder in the beginning of Canto Two?

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

10. How does Nabokov immediately create an artificial reality in the foreword to the novel Pale Fire?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

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?

Essay Topic 2

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?

Essay Topic 3

The first lines of the poem "Pale Fire" portrays a bird flying into a window. Charles Kinbote interprets these lines as they may relate to John Shade's experience.

How is Charles Kinbote like a bird who flies into a window?

(see the answer keys)

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