Through alliteration and imagery, Coleridge turns the words of the poem into a system of symbols that become unfixed to the reader. Coleridge uses alliteration throughout the poem, in which the reader “hovers” between imagination and reality. As the reader moves through the poem, they feel as if they are traveling along a river, “five miles meandering with a mazy motion” (25). The words become a symbol of a slow moving river and as the reader travels along the river, they are also traveling through each stanza. This creates a scene that the viewer can turn words into symbols while in reality they are just reading text. Coleridge is also able to illustrate a suspension of the mind through imagery; done so by producing images that are unfixed to the r...
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...ridge’s longing brings the reader back to reality, in which we see real emotions at play. Another way the final stanza portrays reality is the use of the word “I.” The first three stanzas are in third person, but the last stanza is in first person. Coleridge is describing “Paradise” but transitions to seeing:
A damsel with a dulcimer
In a vision once I saw: (...)
That with music loud and long,
I would build that dome in air, (37-46).
“Xanadu” is a wonderful “Paradise” of fantasy, but Coleridge draws the readers back to reality with the word “I.” He immediately transitions from describing visionary objects to explaining his own poetic challenge. The “pleasure-dome” mirrors the poem and Kubla Khan mirrors Coleridge. The poem ultimately becomes a “vision in a dream,” where the reader recognizes the images that Coleridge recreates through imagination.
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