Analysis Of I Felt A Funeral In My Brain By Emily Dickinson

Emily Dickinson’s I Felt the Funeral in My Brain is a dark poem that portrays an insane person. The poem’s main idea is that her brain is being used to hold a funeral. The funeral service is ongoing, and mourners are pacing back-and-forth. She describes the loud noises she hears during the funeral service. At the end, she starts to picture an empty world. Then, her mind begins falling apart. Dickinson’s poem can be difficult to understand at first glance. It is essential to analyse the poem and to think about it in order to better understand it.

Dickinson’s poem has an iambic meter. This means that it contains a stressed syllable and then an unstressed one. Each line has six lines, while the others have eight. The poem’s rhythm is fluid and there is no clear rhyme scheme. Slant rhymes are the only constant rhythm in the poem’s opening and closing. Slant rhymes refer to rhymes that use similar words but have different sounds. Slant rhymes most often come from words that have identical vowels and consonants, or the reverse. Dickinson’s first stanza contains the words “fro”, and the fourth line “though.” This is because they are similar words, but not necessarily rhyme. She uses dashes in her poems to help control the story and the rhythm. Dickinson wrote line 7, “Kept beat — beating — until I thought”. The poem’s structure is greatly influenced by the dashes. They serve as guidelines to the reader on when to pause. To emphasize the importance of the message she wants to convey, repetition and capitalization are used frequently throughout the poem. Another effect of capitalization is personification. Capitalization transforms dead words into living things.

Dickinson is the speaker and the perspective for the poem. Without being able to see it, she is simply describing her thoughts. It is a fast descent into madness that leads to total darkness. Both the speaker and the reader will find it a terrifying poem. The speaker loses self in the chaos of unconsciousness. The reader feels the speaker’s descent into madness and feeling like she is going insane.

This poem’s meaning can be understood by using metaphors. Dickinson uses metaphors, comparing physical objects with abstract ideas to convey her emotions. The funeral is the speaker’s sense of dying, and her reason for feeling this unconsciousness. This metaphor is simpler because funerals are often associated with death. This funeral marks the transition from the state in which the speaker is living to death. The speaker is simultaneously viewing and actively participating in the funeral, demonstrating that the “Self”, which is the self, is being divided. The entire funeral is a metaphor for her mental breakdown.

The mourners are an additional metaphor in this poem. The speaker’s pain is expressed by the mourners. Lines 3 and 4 are where the speaker describes how the mourners are “treading” until it seems that Sense is breaking through –“.. This is what is driving the speaker to this downward spiral. The speaker feels “Sense”, but it is only for a brief moment. In the second stanza, the pressure returns. In the third stanza, the “Box” refers a container. The “Boots of Lead”, a loud sound she constantly hears, is what the “Box” refers too. The “Reason”, which is her mind’s floor, causes her to fall. In the final verse, she refers “Worlds” to past experiences and memories. They flood her mind when she descends into madness.

The first stanza describes a funeral. However, it is unclear what the speaker is grieving. The funeral is described in the first stanza, but we are able to see more of the speaker as it progresses. While consciousness is present in the first section, “That sense was breaking through” then “My mind began to go numb” in the second. The speaker starts to lose control of reality. “Then, Space-beganto toll” and the speaker is left in silence. The descent then ends with the last line: “I went down and down – And struck a world every plunge.” The speaker’s mental state is rapidly deteriorating, regardless of whether it is physical or mental. Dickinson’s ambiguity and the union of the mental and physical is what makes her poem unique. The purpose of the funeral is not known and Dickinson’s constant shift between the mental, physical, and spiritual makes the poem more confusing. The “Mourners from and to” and their trembling can signify the speaker’s inner pain, but it could also be the actual people who are attending the memorial ceremony. It is possible to interpret the entire poem in many different ways.

The poem’s conclusion is unknowable. The speaker’s final fate is unknown to the reader. The poem finishes with the words, “And finished knowing — then –.” And what? Is she dead? Did it really happen? Dickinson allows the reader to decide the ending of the story.


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    Bailey Williams is an educational blogger and school teacher who uses her blog as a way to share her insights and knowledge with her readers. She has been teaching for over 10 years and has a deep understanding of the school system and how to help students reach their goals. Her blog is packed full of helpful information and resources, so be sure to check it out if you're looking for help with your schoolwork!