Study Guide

Pale Fire Themes & Symbolism

This Study Guide consists of approximately 52 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of Pale Fire.
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The lack of stable or unambiguous identities in Pale Fire indicates the most important theme of the work: the nature of identity and its creation through reminiscence and through literature. John Shade's poem "Pale Fire" is a poet's attempt to define himself, to find order in his life, to come to terms with the suicide of his teen-age daughter and with intimations of his own death. Kinbote's commentary is also an attempt at self-creation, for he interprets Shade's poem as dealing with the revolution in Zembla which forced him to become an exile. In doing so, of course, he blithely ignores the poem's actual content, taking words and phrases out of context to use them as springboards for his own (possibly invented) reminiscences, and even falsifying variants for lines in the poem to support his interpretation.

This theme of creativity can be extended to include not only the...

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This section contains 202 words
(approx. 1 page at 400 words per page)
Buy the Pale Fire Study Guide
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