Pale Fire Test | Final 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. Kinbote fills in a blank space in "Pale Fire" with what name?

2. Charles Kinbote writes a brief play about what event?

3. Who tells Gradus Disa's estate is empty?

4. Who does Kinbote blame for taking John Shade away from religion?

5. Kinbote is what religion?

Short Essay Questions

1. What is significant about the way Shade relates his name to the word "ombre" a French word that connotes shadows and darkness?

2. How does Kinbote respond when a professor tells him he looks like King Charles? Why might he react that way?

3. What do you think of Kinbote's disregard for psychoanalysis?

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

5. When does Kinbote finally merge with King Charles as written in the Commentary?

6. How does Kinbote summarize Canto Four?

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

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

9. What happens when Gradus and his commanders try to send coded messages?

10. Give a brief account of the events involving Disa and King Charles after the revolution.

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

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?

Essay Topic 2

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 3

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?

(see the answer keys)

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