Pale Fire

by

Vladimir Nabokov

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Aunt Maud Character Analysis

Aunt Maud is Shade’s aunt who raised him after his parents died. A painter who loved the grotesque and morbid, Maud is something of an eccentric who likely scandalized the stodgy townsfolk in New Wye. During Hazel’s teenage years, Maud’s health deteriorates, she loses her ability to speak, and she dies in an institution. After her death, a poltergeist appears in the Shade home, and while it might be Aunt Maud haunting them from beyond the grave, the novel implies that the phenomena are actually caused by Hazel processing her grief.

Aunt Maud Quotes in Pale Fire

The Pale Fire quotes below are all either spoken by Aunt Maud or refer to Aunt Maud. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Identity, Delusion, and Loneliness Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Vintage edition of Pale Fire published in 1962.
Commentary: Lines 230-348 Quotes

pada ata lane pad not ogo old wart alan ther tale feur far rant lant tal told

Related Characters: Hazel Shade, Aunt Maud
Related Symbols: Birds and Butterflies
Page Number: 188
Explanation and Analysis:
Get the entire Pale Fire LitChart as a printable PDF.
Pale Fire PDF

Aunt Maud Character Timeline in Pale Fire

The timeline below shows where the character Aunt Maud appears in Pale Fire. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Pale Fire: Canto One
Death, Mystery, and the Afterlife Theme Icon
Loss and Longing Theme Icon
...Shade would pray for the rest of his family to stay healthy. His strange Aunt Maud raised him—she made paintings that combined realism with the fantastically grotesque. Maud lived until after... (full context)
Pale Fire: Canto Two
Death, Mystery, and the Afterlife Theme Icon
Patterns, Fate, and Coincidence Theme Icon
Loss and Longing Theme Icon
At 80, Aunt Maud’s health declined. She went to an institution where she lost her ability to speak. Shade... (full context)
Commentary: Lines 49-98
Death, Mystery, and the Afterlife Theme Icon
Loss and Longing Theme Icon
Lines 86-90: Aunt Maud. While line 90 of “Pale Fire” implies that Hazel Shade (John’s daughter) was a baby... (full context)
Death, Mystery, and the Afterlife Theme Icon
Loss and Longing Theme Icon
Lines 90-93: Her room, etc. In the draft, there are lines about Maud’s room containing the cocoon of a Luna moth. Kinbote’s dictionary says that the Luna is... (full context)
Identity, Delusion, and Loneliness Theme Icon
Line 91: trivia. The objects in Aunt Maud’s room include a scrapbook where she pasted funny or gross news clippings. Once, Shade showed... (full context)
Commentary: Lines 230-348
Death, Mystery, and the Afterlife Theme Icon
Loss and Longing Theme Icon
...1950, when Hazel was sixteen, she appeared to begin moving objects with her mind. Aunt Maud had just died, and a “poltergeist” seemed to associate its odd phenomena with her. For... (full context)
Death, Mystery, and the Afterlife Theme Icon
Patterns, Fate, and Coincidence Theme Icon
Loss and Longing Theme Icon
...explaining these phenomena as an act of Hazel’s rather than as the ghost of Aunt Maud, since science and the supernatural are both miraculous and inexplicable. (full context)