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. Which of the following best describes the pervading theme of Canto Four?

2. Which Pope is mentioned in the commentary to Line 85?

3. According to Kinbote, who was Thurgus the Third's lover?

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

5. Canto Four contains a metaphor comparing this activity to John Shade's writing process?

Short Essay Questions

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

2. Briefly describe the IPH.

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

4. Briefly describe John Shade's vision of the after-life.

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

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

7. Describe John Shade's daughter.

8. Provide an example or two of the reflection motif found between the commentary to lines 131 and the commentary to lines 162.

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

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

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

In the commentary to Line 171 Gradus, the assassin, is said to have had a job at a glass factory.

Could this be a figment of Charles Kinbote's imagination, and if so why would Kinbote make up such a job for the assassin?

Why do you think Nabokov chose to have Kinbote give Gradus this job?

Why does Nabokov choose to have Kinbote portray Gradus as a failure at this job?

Does it matter if Gradus really had such a job?

Use specific examples from the text to support your claims.

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

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?

(see the answer keys)

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