NCERT Solutions For Class 12 English Kaleidoscope Chapter 4: Kubla Khan or A Vision in a Dream: A Fragment

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Chapter4. Kubla Khan or A Vision in a Dream: A Fragment
TextbookKaleidoscope, Poetry
AuthorS.T. Coleridge
CategoryNCERT Solutions for Class 12

The NCERT Solutions for Class 12 English are an excellent choice for students preparing for their board or any competitive exams. These solutions are made by expert teachers and faculties of English. Class 12 English Solutions, made by NCERTian, will help students understand the central theme of each chapter. They will strengthen your foundation in English and help you score good marks in the board examination. On this page, we have provided you with the Solutions of Kaleidoscope Poetry Chapter 4 – Kubla Khan or A Vision in a Dream: A Fragment.

NCERT Solutions for Class 12 English Kaleidoscope Chapter 4

Kubla Khan or A Vision in a Dream: A Fragment Solutions

Understanding the Poem

Find out where the river Alph is.

Answer) Alph River is a small river of Antarctica, running into Walcott Bay, Victoria Land. It is located in an ice-free region at the west of the Koettlitz Glacier, Scott Coast. Alph emerges from Trough Lake and flows through Walcott Lake, Howchin Lake, and Alph Lake.

Q1) Does the poem have a real geographical location?

How does the poet mix up the real and the imaginary to give a sense of the surreal?

Answer) The genesis of this poem is a vision seen by Coleridge in a trance-like state of mind. He tried to capture its essence, but an interruption caused an irreparable break in his poetic flow.

Coleridge’s poem adopts the character of Kubla Khan, the grandson of the legendary Mongol conqueror Genghis Khan. Genghis Khan took the initiative to build a summer palace in Xanadu, located in Mongolia.

In Kubla Khan, the poet talks about how Kubla sought to build a dome undisturbed by natural forces. He was against the natural forces of decay and degeneration and wanted to create a private world deprived of evolution. In contrast, the poet wants to build a dome in the air out of the natural forces, a creative cocoon that would make the poet feel happy. The poet doesn’t wish to go against the natural world. Instead, he wants to build something out of the natural forces that would easily mix with the world’s natural motions.

The introduction of the River Alph is another instance of how the poet combines the real and the imaginary. There is undoubtedly no river with that name though some scholars claim this to connect with the river Alpheus in Greece. The poet Coleridge continually shifts away from the real world by choosing specific figures and connecting them with imaginary concepts to provide a surrealistic effect.

Q2) Pick out

(i) contrasting images that are juxtaposed throughout the poem.
(ii) images that strike the eye and images that strike the ear, both positive and negative.
(iii) the words used to describe the movement of water.


(i) The poem consists of contradictory images. Here are a few instances from the poem:
The noisy and active river Alph contrasts with a calm and peaceful garden.
The gloomy and dim ocean is in contrast to the warm, lively forest.
The caves are freezing, icy and cold, contrasting them with domes that are warmer and gigantic.
The ‘wailing woman’ image contrasts with her lover, whom the poet Coleridge considers a ‘demon’.

(ii) In Kubla Khan, we have images that strike the eyes.
Firstly, the name “Kubla Khan” imposes the trance-like effect on the reader the poet has been looking for.
The juxtaposition of the words’ waning’ and ‘wailing woman’ imparts a wailing sound.
In the line “Five miles meandering with a mazy motion”, there is alliteration in the “m” sound and creates a kind of motion sound as it describes.

The halting assonance in “As if this earth in fast thick pants were breathing” provides a sense of breathing.

(iii) The poet Coleridge uses different words to showcase various emotions and sounds. For instance, the poet attempts to visualize the river gushing down the hillside “momently” like a “fountain”: “A mighty fountain momently was forced.” The poet wants the reader to imagine the river as something that is recreated at every moment.

In the lines, “And mid these dancing rocks at once and ever. It flung up momently the sacred river”- the poet tries to make the readers visualize the river bouncing off the rocks.
Through the words- “Through wood and dale the sacred river ran, then reached the caverns measureless to man, and sank in tumult to a lifeless ocean”, the poet visualizes the river as it rushes down a deep canyon and cuts into a wooded hillside. The river then turns into a good, running river.

Q3) What is the discordant note heard at the end of the third stanza?

Can we relate this to the grandeur and turmoil that are a part of an emperor’s life?

Answer) In the third stanza, the speaker calls up Xanadu with a strange voice. The speaker is surprised by the images, imagines the image to be real, and cries out, “beware, beware”! describing the creature possessing “flashing eyes” and “floating hair”. The description of the animal indicates that something bad is going to happen soon. Many critics argue that the vision was the effect of opium intake, while others have denied this and tried to explain it as a final vision of Kubla Khan, which turned into a mysterious and strange ghost. Thus, the third stanza creates an ambiguous and peculiar kind of atmosphere.

Q4) Which are the lines that refer to magical elements?


The lines that refer to magical elements are:
“Through caverns measureless to man/ Down to a sunless sea.” Again, the lines, “Where blossomed many an incense-bearing tree”, create an intense magical world. These lines transform the everyday world into happiness.

“But oh! That deep romantic chasm which/ slanted” depicts the world’s image is some charm or spell cast by some unknown power.
The dome is innately beautiful and captivates the reader with its magnificent charm, which describes most beautifully “It was a miracle of rare device, / A sunny pleasure-dome with caves of ice.”

Q5) What is poetic ecstasy likened to?

Answer) Poetic ecstasy is the style of making passion come alive through voicing complex feelings and experience. The ecstatic energy, the rejuvenating happiness in the mind and body, is clubbed together to define a strange force that shakes within ourselves. The magic overwhelms the artist through such fragmentary moments and takes him off into a poetic ecstasy.

Q6) The poem is a fragment. What do you think has made it a lasting literary piece?

Answer) According to critics, Kubla Khan’s poem is considered one of Coleridge’s most significant works. The poem dwells between darkness and corruption, which coexist with innocence and simplicity. The dark, gloomy, violent river is compared with the calm, peaceful surroundings, and we get to hear the wailing of the damsel for her “demon lover”.
The poem also combines Christian, Hinduism and Islamic traits in its symbolic descriptions. For example, Kubla Khan is from an Islamic background, but his palace Xanadu has a cross of Jesus Christ. The poet took the ideas from different religions, and they effectively leave an impact on readers. Thus, this poem has emerged as a versatile piece of poetry by drawing on broad, universal and all-encompassing themes.


Write short descriptions of five other rare musical instruments that are used by folk cultures.

Answer) Here are a few other rare musical instruments used by the folk cultures:

  • Dan Tre: This translates as “bamboo musical instrument”, is an especially unusual instrument in the world. A fusion of European and Asian musical traditions, it is made from recycled materials found around the camp.
  • Mayuri: Popular in the Indian courts of the 19th century, the esraj is an instrument resembling a sitar, with a bowed stringed neck that is played while kneeling.
  • Chime bells: Chime bells were an essential instrument during China’s Qin and Han Dynasties. Hung on a frame and arranged by size, the bells were carefully constructed so that different areas made different sounds when struck.
  • Zurna: A zurna is a woodwind used to play folk music that can be found all across central Eurasia. It is known for its loud, high-pitched sharp tone. As it plays with a constant volume, it is not very suitable for emphasizing rhythm and is therefore normally accompanied by a big drum.
  • Santour: The santour is one of the oldest hitting stringed instruments. It is the ancestor of many other similar instruments, as it travelled along trade routes and was copied and adapted by different cultures to adapt it to their musical styles.
Try this Out

The poem is a product of subconscious fusion of dream images and ideas from Coleridge’s wide reading.

Which of the details in the poem do you think are factual, and which imaginary? Surf the internet to get interesting details.

Answer) The poet Coleridge’s poem Kubla Khan is one of the poems observed in a dream under opium intake. The poet has adopted particular historical and contemporary facts, and Kubla Khan is a poem of pure romance. All the romantic relationships have been concentrated in this short poem. The poet is mostly drawn towards the beauty of gardens. The poem contains many incense-bearing trees laden with blossoms, sensuous phrases and pictures like colourful gardens, bright spots of greenery etc. Also, the story describes the Abyssinian maid as very romantic. Kubla Khan is a supernatural poem based on the dream of the poet. Supernaturalism is also a romantic quality. There are images and phrases in the poem that are supernatural and create an atmosphere of mystery and awe: ‘that deep romantic chasm’, ‘caverns measureless to man’, ‘a sunless sea’ etc. On the whole, Kubla Khan is a celebration of supernaturalism. The poem takes us out of the world of everyday life into a world of wonder and romance.

That’s it. These were the solutions of NCERT Class 12 English Kaleidoscope Chapter 4 – Kubla Khan or A Vision in a Dream: A Fragment. Our team hopes that you have found these solutions helpful for you. If you have any doubt related to this chapter then feel free to comment your doubts below. Our team will try their best to help you with your doubts.

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