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. In Canto Two we find that Shade's daughter had been vacationing in what faraway place?

2. Of the following, which most accurately describes the lines in the first stanza of Canto One?

3. Of the following, what do King Charles and John Shade have in common?

4. During what time of day does John Shade prefer to write?

5. Who does King Charles finally marry?

Short Essay Questions

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

2. What events lead to the death of John Shade's daughter?

3. How is Kinbote critical of Professor Hurley?

4. List a few possible motivations for Shade's desire to learn more about the after-life.

5. How are Gradus and Kinbote similar?

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

7. What is Kinbote's secret?

8. Give examples from the text of reasons that the Extremists are unable to find King Charles once he escapes.

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

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

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

Discuss the assonance and consonance in the poem "Pale Fire." How does Nabokov use these literary tools throughout the poem?

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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