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. Who is the previous inhabitant of Charles Kinbote's house?

2. What does Shade find out when he tracks down the woman who had the same vision of the after-life that he did?

3. Which of the following has Shade renounced?

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

5. Once King Charles is outside his room he must escape from what part of the castle?

Short Essay Questions

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

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

3. How is Kinbote critical of Professor Hurley?

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

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

6. How is Kinbote's birthday gift for Shade representative of Kinbote's commentary of the poem?

7. What is significant about the bird in Canto One?

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

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

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

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

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?

Essay Topic 2

Charles Kinbote is an unreliable narrator.

Cite specific examples of how Vladimir Nabokov portrays Kinbote as an unreliable narrator.

Do you think this tactic was effective for the story? Why or why not?

How would the novel, Pale Fire, have been different if Kinbote was a reliable narrator?

Why did Nabokov choose to portray Kinbote the way he did?

Essay Topic 3

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?

(see the answer keys)

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