A VISION OF A DREAM: A FRAGMENT (symbols, imagery, wordplay (xanadu the…
A VISION OF A DREAM: A FRAGMENT
a vision in a dream: a fragment
This poem describes Xanadu, the palace of Kubla Khan, a Mongol emperor and the grandson of Genghis Khan. The poem's speaker starts by describing the setting of Emperor's palace, which he calls a "pleasure dome."
the male sovereign or supreme ruler of an empire:
the official residence of a king, queen, bishop, or other sovereign or exalted personage.
talking about an experience we've probably all had. At the bottom of all of these odd images and ideas, he's just trying to tell us about a dream he had. Have you ever woken up from a really amazing dream and felt like you just had to tell someone? Maybe when you did tell a friend, he or she looked at you funny. Well Coleridge had a seriously intense dream, and now he wants to tell us about it.
versions of reality
in a alternate reality
people appear and dissapear
man and the natural world
dome to river
garden to sea
tension of buildings and permanence of nature
art and culture
symbols, imagery, wordplay
He paints a picture that enchants us and pulls us in. Once he's got us, he can slow his patter down, or speed it up as he sees fit
"Kubla Khan" is sort of about a person and a place, but it's really more about how you can create those things with words alone.
Coleridge needed sleep and sickness and drugs in order to have this vision. But the amazing thing about this poem is that he can recreate this experience without any of those things. He just needs the sound and the texture of words
imagine yourself tucked in on a rainy night in winter, just a candle lighting the room, listening to Coleridge build castles with his words
These are calm, quiet moments. When you say the words out loud, they have the sound of a soothing, delicate instrument like a flute
The poem is a journey of sounds. It tries to use the effects of language as if they were the different parts of an orchestra.
The meter, the rhyme the subject matter are all trying to make you feel what it's like to see things that aren't normally there. Letting you know that it's not only a dream but also "a vision in a dream" leaves you extra prepared for the weirdness that's coming.
He was interrupted, in the middle of writing, and when he came back, he had forgotten the rest. What about this poem might make it seem like a fragment? Does it seem finished to you?
finds a lot of dramatic material in nature
He wants you to think about big, exciting ideas. Bringing all the raging power of nature into his poems is a way to get you to think about love, death, the soul and eternity
the river alph
takes over most of the half of the poem
powerful/natural force to symbolize the natural world
traveling from peaceful gardens to the faraway sea
greek river alpheus
gloomy, mysterious, faraway place
marks the end of the river
dead end with no life or light, absence of light and life
empty open space, the underworld, a place where things simply end
a blank canvas, the shadow of the palace floats on it
xanadu the pleasure dome
nice palace with pretty gardens
safe, sunny, happy place
stands for all the majesty and triumph of mankind
compared to the power and immensity of nature
allusion to a real historical place
The dome is his way of referring to the legendary palace of Xanadu. When you use one feature of a thing to refer to the whole, that's called metonymy.
huge, frightening, cold, and fascinating to our speaker
They are the opposite of the warm, happy palace. They are dramatic, freezing, underground, and represent everything the pleasure dome is not.
The speaker could say that the caverns are "really deep" or "you can't see the bottom." Instead, the depth of the caverns is exaggerated to an infinite point, adding to the feeling of mystery
When they are contrasted with the sunny dome like this, the caves of ice becomes a symbol of the forces of nature that lie under and surround the works of man
The clash of these forces is one of the main points of this vision
the woman and her demon lover
calls up supernatural power, romance, and excitement
setting mood of landscape