Mary McCarthy once stated that Hazel Shade “killed herself young by drowning.” Eric S. Petrie (Michigan State University) questions this very interpretation in his article, “Moonrise over the Moor: Hazel’s Death in Nabokov’s Pale Fire.” Hazel Shade’s life and death is rightly understood in its comic-book formula (ugly girl, despondent over failed romance, abandoned on a blind date, kills herself out of despair), but Petrie suspects that Nabokov’s most ingenious multi-level fiction cannot be taken at a 1950s true-romance face value. Neither Shade nor Kinbote could put the pieces of Hazel’s puzzle together properly, because neither was able to see Hazel for herself and to understand her soul or her interest in the next world.
Moonrise over the Moor: Hazel’s Death in Nabokov’s Pale Fire
Periodical or collection
Nabokov Online Journal