Historicist

For this 3-4-page paper, you will choose a topic of interest that you would like to research as a point of reference outside Pale Fire that Nabokov seems to be addressing in his novel. You should try to find a single significant primary or secondary source (I would recommend getting a book) that you will examine carefully in order to be able to demonstrate how Pale Fire serves as a response to or commentary on this phenomenon. You should begin your research process now, as your initial search for a significant source may lead to a dead end. Keep looking until you find something you think will provide a fruitful analysis. As we discuss in class, neither Wikipedia nor biographies of Nabokov can be used as your source, though you might need to use the help of both to find a good source.

 

After learning all you can about the topic you have chosen, consider the ways that your new knowledge might expand or inform your reading of the text. You should construct a clear argument that connects your new knowledge to an interpretive statement about the meaning and purpose of the text.

 

Introduction

As quickly as you can, orient your reader by identifying the particular aspect of Pale Fire to which your research is relevant. Then introduce your research source and briefly explain what it says. Your thesis will suggest a new reading of Pale Fire as a response to the information you have gained through research.

 

Body

I would recommend starting with your research source, organizing explicating paragraphs that connect quotations from your chosen source to your thesis. How to they contribute to the conception you would like your reader to have of your topic? Then move into an analysis of quotations from Pale Fire in the second half of your paper, demonstrating how the novel serves as a response to the topic of your research.

 

Conclusion

In such a short paper, you will only be able to focus on a small instance of the possible implications of your research on your reading of the novel. Here, you might suggest other ways that either further research in this area or further analysis could deepen the connection you have discovered.

 

Works Cited

You will need to add a works cited section at the end of your paper. It should start just a few lines below the end of the text of your paper, so it doesn’t need a separate page. List the entries in alphabetical order by author’s last name, including Pale Fire, and using MLA-style citation.