possessed. As the "only begetter,"
simultaneously sires and acquires the
poem, feminizing Shade as the womb that gives birth to his narrative. In the sense
that he is the poet's inseminator or muse, Zembla and his friendship with Shade
constitute the invisible "undersideof the weave," the "catalytic agent upon the very
process of the sustained creative effervescence that enabled Shade to produce a 1000-
line poem in three weeks" (81). In its more outrageous suggestion that he is reborn or
doubled through the poem, the lesser structural "underside"is Shade's poem and the
displayed pattern is Kinbote's story. All these meanings coexist in Kinbote's
relationship to "Pale Fire," a complexity he encapsulates and structures with the
assertion that his "own past intercoils there with the fate of the innocent author" (17).
Shade himself is occupied with similar tropes. "A thread of subtle pain,
Tugged at by playful death, released again, But always present, ran through me" (38,
he says, introducing a reminiscence of his first death-like experience. The
cat and spider imagery here is repeated and rendered more explicitly arachnid in
Shade's account of his second death experience, when a "blood-black nothingness
began to spin A system of cells interlinked within Cells interlinked within cells
interlinked Within one stem"
703-6). Thrilled by the prospect that the "tall
758) he perceives during his fit and later encounters in a
magazine article about the near-death of "a Mrs. Z."
cosmic truth, Shade enthusiastically travels to meet her: "Was met by an impassioned
purr. Saw that blue hair, those freckled hands, that rapt Orchideous air-and knew
that I was trapped"
Shade is punished here, as during his lectureship at
"I.P.H., a lay Institute (I) of Preparation (P) For the Hereafter (H)"