I Felt A Funeral In My Brain Analysis Essay

Emily Dickinson’s poem “I felt a funeral in My Brain” is about a funeral service taking place in the speakers imagination. Throughout the poem the reader is left to think that the funeral is the speakers own funeral. The tone of the poem comes across as depressing and lonely. The ending of the poem is left as an open thought for the readers. “And Finished knowing – then-. ” (20). Most of Dickinson’s endings in poems are frequently left open ended (Poetry Foundation). Dickinson wrote a poem dated to 1875, “Escape is such a thankful World.

In, fact her references to “escape” occur primarily in reference to the soul (Poetry Foundation). This poem relates to “I felt a Funeral in my Brain” because of the sense of escaping from something referenced to the soul. Dickinson relies on contrasting imagery, symbolism, and sound to convey the lonely feelings of sadness also know as depression. Depression is defined as a mood disorder causing a persistent feeling of sadness and loss of interest. Dickinson uses imagery in “I Felt a Funeral in My Brain” to draw out the sad lonely thoughts of dying that keeps replaying over and over in the speakers brain.

The image of a large group of people gathering to be seated around a casket took place in her mind. Dickinson uses metaphor to convey the image of the weight depression placed on her. She writes the line “And then a plank in Reason ,broke,/ And I dropped down, and down”(17-18). This image demonstrates how the speaker is falling apart and being beat down till finally she hits rock bottom. Many images in the poem are used to portray the speakers mind. Dickinson also uses simile to demonstrate the powerful overwhelming thoughts going through the speakers mind.

A service, like a Drum -/Kept beating – beating – till I thought/ My mind was going numb”(6-7). You can tell that the speakers mind is pounding with thoughts till finally her brain goes numb and doesn’t have any thoughts. Symbolism is relied on by Dickinson to convey the meaning of depression to the readers. Throughout the poem there are plenty of words that can be considered as symbolism. For example the funeral itself taking over her brain. A funeral is a ceremony honoring a dead person, typically involving burial or cremation. The funeral represents the level of depression that is going through her mind at that time.

A funeral is for the dead, meaning the author is thinking about herself being dead laying inside the casket while people are seated around her. “And then I heard them lift a Box” symbolizes how the speaker stills has her sense of hearing even though she is supposedly dead inside the casket that is being lifted. Looking at the definition of a funeral stated above the casket also known as the “box” that the speaker lays in is implied that it is going to be buried. The church bells that the speaker hears represent the ending of the service that must be taking place in a church.

This symbolizes how the speakers pounding thoughts finally stop and everything is quite. Besides imagery and symbolism, Dickinson uses sound of words to express the authors feelings toward her lonely depressing life. If you were able to hear what the speaker was hearing during the poem, you would hear loud beating drums, heavy footsteps, creaking of boards, church bells, then finally silence. The quote “I heard them lift a Box/And creak across my soul” shows the speaker still having the sense of hearing but cannot see what she is hearing.

This states that the speaker is the one who lies in the casket. A funeral service containing loud continues beating drums usually isn’t a typical funeral service especially in 19th century New England. The beating of the drums is used as a more literal sense for the speakers thoughts that are pounding in her head over and over again like a loud beating drum. The speaker uses the words “brain”, “sense”, “Mind”, and “soul” in this order throughout her poem. This describes how the depression slowly takes control of her whole body as a whole.

Fist her brain which helps the body function. Then her sense which is used to hear, see, taste, touch, and smell. After that her mind is taken over. The mind is different from the brain, the mind is capable of the thoughts you are able to have. Then lastly her soul is taken from her which is the spiritual principle embodied in human beings The speaker compares the heavens to a bell which is to be assumed as the service taking place in a church. This explains that the speaker has a religious side to her or knows a lot about religion.

In the year 1847, Dickinson entered Mount Holyoke Female Seminary, which was known for its religious predilection. Years later after Dickinson death a fellow student Clara Newman Turner remembered the moment when Mary Lyon “asked all those who wanted to be Christians to rise. ” Emily remained seated. No one else did. Turner reports Emily’s comment to her: “They thought it queer I didn’t rise’ – adding with a twinkle in her eye, I thought a lie would be queerer”(Poetry Foundation). This would explain where her religion background comes from and the regret she may have that still crosses her mind.

The sounds used in the poem express the speakers dark place and the feelings of depression that are racing through her mind. When the reader first starts to read the poem there are two different ways that you can interpret the speaker. One way is thinking she is absolutely insane and suicidal or you may think maybe she just went through a dramatic experience and can sympathize for her. When the author states the lines” With those same Boots of Lead, again” (20) you get the feeling that the speaker has already experienced this feeling before.

The feeling of someone walking across her soul and being alone in a world full of people. The feeling of sadness and depression taking toll on her body till finally she hits her breaking point. The last stanza in the poem can also be interpreted in many different ways. The poem ended by the speaker saying“- then-” (20) leaves the reader to think did she finally hit the last “world” also know as death? The reader also can assume that she finally came to a sense of reality and overcome her experience of depression.