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. Why did King Charles' marriage fail?

2. John Shade says, "There's nothing wrong with shedding a dismal past to substitute pleasing _________?"

3. Where does Gradus go to look for the king?

4. Whose spirit supposedly haunts the barn?

5. Which of the following best describes King Charles' marriage?

Short Essay Questions

1. Briefly summarize the conversation Kinbote overhears between Shade and Mrs. Hurley, and its relevance to "Pale Fire."

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

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

4. How does Kinbote summarize Canto Four?

5. What does Kinbote write about in the commentary as the poem addresses Hazel's death?

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

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

8. How does Kinbote describe the Russian guards who are after the Zemblan Crown Jewels?

9. Who does Disa mirror in Kinbote's life?

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

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

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 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

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.

(see the answer keys)

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