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 does John Shade refer to the I.P.H.?

2. Which of the following has Shade renounced?

3. In the commentary to Line 137, what phrase, used by John Shade in "Pale Fire", does Kinbote claim has no real meaning?

4. Who gives Kinbote information about John Shade's daughter?

5. Charles Kinbote wants the reader to see the image of who/what after reading the lines 131-132, "I was the waxing slain by feigned remoteness in the windowpane?"

Short Essay Questions

1. Briefly describe King Alfin the Vague.

2. How does Gradus learn the location of the king?

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

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

5. Briefly recount Gradus' experience on the day he killed Shade, as told by Kinbote.

6. What does Kinbote write about in the commentary as the poem addresses Hazel's death?

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

8. What are some early examples of reflection as a theme in the poem "Pale Fire?"

9. What does Kinbote relate to the death of Hazel?

10. Briefly describe Fleur.

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

At what point in the novel did you suspect Charles Kinbote was not mentally sound?

How does his dementia progress throughout the novel?

How does his grasp of reality change the way you perceive the events of the novel?

Do you think Zembla is a real place in the world created by Nabokov in Pale Fire, or a figment of Charles Kinbote's imagination?

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

Reflection is a major motif of the fictional poem "Pale Fire," and in the novel's commentary and foreword.

Give specific examples of Nabokov's use of reflection as it pertains to looking back at past events?

How does Nabokov use reflection in terms of mirror images or opposites?

How do these two interpretations of reflection work together in Shade's writing, and Kinbote's commentary?

(see the answer keys)

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