Study Guide

Pale Fire - Forward Summary & Analysis

This Study Guide consists of approximately 55 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of Pale Fire.
This section contains 1,112 words
(approx. 3 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the Pale Fire Study Guide

Forward Summary

To initial appearances, Pale Fire is the final, unfinished poem by renowned poet John Shade, with a forward and commentary by fellow university instructor Charles Kinbote. However, through the commentary, this novel becomes the story Charles Kinbote longs to tell, the story of Charles X, the exiled, beloved king of Zembla. Kinbote proves himself an unreliable narrator, and the reader must attempt to discern the layers of illusive truth behind the tale.

Charles Kinbote begins the forward in a straightforward manner, introducing the poem to follow, "Pale Fire," written in the last month of poet John Shade's life. The original of the poem is written on a collection of 80 index cards in the poet's small, precise handwriting.

The poem is divided into four cantos and is symmetrical in design. The first canto is 166 lines (about one sixth of the total length of the...

(read more from the Forward Summary)

This section contains 1,112 words
(approx. 3 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the Pale Fire Study Guide
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