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I felt a funeral in my brain, Analysis

Author: Poetry of Emily Dickinson Type: Poetry Views: 3721

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I felt a funeral in my brain,

And mourners, to and fro,

Kept treading, treading, till it seemed

That sense was breaking through.

And when they all were seated,

A service like a drum

Kept beating, beating, till I thought

My mind was going numb

And then I heard them lift a box,

And creak across my soul

With those same boots of lead, again.

Then space began to toll

As all the heavens were a bell,

And being, but an ear,

And I and Silence some strange Race

Wrecked, solitary, here.


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||| Analysis | Critique | Overview Below |||

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The speaker imagines that a funeral is taking place inside her brain, and she can feel the mourners pacing back and forth.
The mourners sit down, and the funeral service begins. Unfortunately, this service seems more like a performance of \"Stomp\" than a religious gathering. The drum-like beating of the service makes her think her mind is going numb.
The mourners lift the casket and walk across her \"Soul\" (10). For some reason, they are wearing heavy lead boots, which isn\'t very thoughtful of them.
At the end of the service, she feels as though a church bell were ringing inside her head. She imagines her mind as the entire universe. She feels like she is \"Wrecked\" (16) and alone except for Silence, her only companion.
The wooden floor of her mind – now called \"Reason\" (17) – suddenly breaks, and she falls a long way down. She keeps hitting \"worlds\" on the way down, and we\'re not sure what this means. Nor do we learn what\'s at the bottom of her \"plunge\" (19), because she \"Finishe[s] knowing\" (20) before she – and we – can find out. The poem ends on an ominous note.

| Posted on 2012-12-12 | by a guest

.: analyze :.

Im sorry to say your interpretation of this is mistaken. It is about someone slowly losing thier grip on reality and when the plank breaks their mind is fully gone. This poem could have been writin about some one with alhiezemers

| Posted on 2008-03-11 | by a guest

.: contact :.

To "molested"..please contact me b/c I feel the things
you wrote might be from personal exp. which I also feel. I related to your writing and if it is indeed personal, I think we have a lot in common. email xbball925@aol.com..thanks.

| Posted on 2007-12-11 | by a guest

.: :.

The poem by Emily Dickinson circa 1861 beginning “I felt a Funeral, in my Brain” explores several subjects contained within an extended metaphor of a funeral service. This metaphor is evident in the word Funeral, Mourners, Service, Box (containing the body), Soul, Heavens, Bell (rung to signal the passing). All these are capitalized to add emphasis and connect the meaning. Other capitalized words in the poem include Sense and Reason. We are told that the planks separate these concepts from being realized. There are people above the floor that can be heard in the basement but only impressions of them are felt. There is no way to fully conceptualize what kind of people they are. The whole poem has a quick beating rhythm like the Drum in the poem created by using short words and by using repetition of “beating” and “treading” we have the added effect of stress. The pattern gives the same sort of apprehension as the Tell-Tale heart of Poe and the mocking dialog his Raven. To me this poem speaks originally as the retelling of Poe’s “The Tell-Tale Heart” from the point of the hidden heart. The heart hears the searchers above it and is pleading for its discovery so the truth can be revealed. In this interpretation the heart does not actually but envy’s the beating above it, from line 15 “And I, and Silence, some strange Race/ Wrecked, solitary here”. The heart and silence are different than all above and it is jealous of not beating like the footsteps. Race in the line also implies a racing heart; silence is a strange racing heart. After reading deeply into this meaning I also discovered a secondary theme. What Dickinson describes as “a Funeral, in my Brain” may be nothing more than writers block. She has ideas but they are blocked by the invisible wall (floor). She can hear the percussion of brilliance but can not see the Sense and Reason. At the end of the poem the floor breaks and the “World[s]” are revealed to her. In the context of this interpretation World can be traded for Word. This creates a second depth to this poem that was possibly created while she attempted to find the best words for another.

| Posted on 2005-02-02 | by Approved Guest

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'I Felt a Funeral in my Brain' is a poem that seems to me to describe a longsuffering, clinically depressed woman. The treading, treading she is used to ... but it continues on for such a long time that she cannot take it any longer, and she feels as if she's breaking. The poem describes her mental breakdown, her collapse into insanity from a perch of depressed and fragile sanity. In a way, though ... her insanity is better for her than the sanity. It opens up an entirely new realm of thought, and gives her new epiphanies into herself ... what these are, she does not specify; however 'And I and Silence some strange Race
Wrecked, solitary, here' suggests her realization that she is ultimately alone ... echoing the sentiments of TS Eliot in 'The Hollow Men' .. we must/can only find meaning within ourselves' Maybe I'm grasping, but, because of her use of commas, it seems such to me. She realizes that her 'sanity' wasn't of much use to her at all ... it caused only pain and sadness and numbness to life. Through 'insanity' she can truly live .. with her own purpose and life. Of course this very much DOES echo ED's own life .. she lived unconventionally. Well, anyway .. the symbolism of the funural suggests the finality ... and falling over the edge into a new realm of life. As they toss the coffin into the grave, her soul arises into new life. Goodbye old sanity .. I am into a new realm of existence! Despite the negative connotations of the title, this is actually quite the uplifting, hopeful poem. Instead of the sadness and ending of the 'funeral', she wishes us to look beyond to the 'afterlife', her new beggining as a happy, insane, lovely woman.
With this she also comments about her views on death. The poem could be viewed in SOOO many different ways! I love it! Emily Dickensen was sooo cool!

| Posted on 2004-10-25 | by molested

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