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. When did John Shade meet his wife?

2. Who raises John Shade during his childhood?

3. The first draft of "Pale Fire" was composed on a series of index cards. How many index cards did the author use?

4. John Shade reads an article written by this person about a woman who had a similar vision?

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

Short Essay Questions

1. Describe John Shade's daughter.

2. Briefly describe John and Sybil Shade's relationship.

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

4. How does John Shade understand life?

5. Briefly describe Fleur.

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

7. Briefly describe the IPH.

8. Describe John Shade's writing process.

9. How are Gradus and Kinbote similar?

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

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

Compare the way Charles Kinbote portrays himself vs. the way he is viewed by others. Based on his actions, how would you describe the "real" Charles Kinbote? Based on your description of Kinbote, and the difference in the way he is perceived by others compared to his view of himself, write an essay commenting on Nabokov's choice to have a person like this narrate the story instead of writing the novel with a third-person omniscient narrator describing Kinbote, his treatment of "Pale Fire" and his relationships with the other characters in the novel.

Essay Topic 2

How does Nabokov use references of other literary works in his novel Pale Fire? Give as many examples of references to other works as you can from the text, and describe what Nabokov accomplishes by including them in the novel.

Essay Topic 3

Throughout the novel, the game of chess reappears in various scenes, and is played by a variety of characters.

Cite specific examples Nabokov uses of the game of chess throughout the novel.

Why do you think Nabokov chooses to incorporate the game of chess into the novel the way he does?

(see the answer keys)

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