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Analysis and comments on I felt a Funeral, in my Brain, by Emily Dickinson

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Comment 10 of 100, added on December 6th, 2005 at 9:45 PM.

I think that this poem is her dealing with something... whether it be a
horrible past memory or something that is upsetting her, it's tormenting
her brain. The tolling bell hurts her mind, it shows her inability to
comprehend and figure out the situation. Then the bell stops, she's
realized something, and finally at the end, she has come to terms with this
thought or this memory, but doesn't share it with us.. It hits her and she
moves on.

Laura from Canada
Comment 9 of 100, added on November 25th, 2005 at 7:11 PM.

When I first read this poem I about screamed, becuase all of the metaphors
that Emily uses, until i analyzed it and realized how insightful she is in
this poem. In the last stanza,
And then a Plank in Reason, broke,
And i dropped down, and down-
And hit a World, at every plunge,
And Finished knowing-then-

I thought of it as the "Plank in Reason" is the last stronghold to resist
its own dissolution, and then it "breaks". So Emily seems to start to go
unconcious, "And dropped down, and down-", from all the pain and agony.
"hit a World, at every plunge" might be talking about the different
stages/degrees of repression. And then the last line, "And Finished
knowing-then-" just says that she passed out.

Kara from United States
Comment 8 of 100, added on November 21st, 2005 at 7:31 PM.

I adore this poem. I think Emily Dickinson does such a wonderful job of
taking something so simple and making it up to be grand. This poem is an
excellent example. She uses her customary paradox in the beginning, and her
clarifying metaphors, all to express her feelings on an epiphany. It's
brilliant really.

Zee from United States
Comment 7 of 100, added on October 16th, 2005 at 9:13 PM.

First note: I enjoyed Hatty's interpretation of Dickinson's poem in regards
to her professor.

The first time I came across this specific poem was when I was living in
Manhattan and stumbled across an old 1960's copy of "Emily Dickinson" a
Laurel Poetry series book, it was number thirteen. I was specifically
enthralled by her use of metaphor on the senses to draw in the reader with
the treading, and the creaking and the drumming and the tolling. It gave a
very full sense of being empty in response to a person fantasy of their own
death. It brings a sense of hurt from the reader for the pain she must have
endured to bring about those pains. This one, is especially well done.

Aymee from United States
Comment 6 of 100, added on September 22nd, 2005 at 2:02 PM.

This poem, upon first glance, seems almost impossible to interpret. You
are confronted immediately by phrases like, "Boots of Lead," and "the Space
- began to toll." It is the tolling that really hits me upsides the head,
I can almost hear it myself. She describes the heavens as turning into
one, giant, tolling bell...and she, merely an ear, forced to listen. A
clamor so loud, that I can only imagine it would feel something like a
tumor rupturing in one's head. For Emily describes herself, along with
'Silence', as some "strange Race." Meaning, silence has become some
foreign alien that no longer holds a place in the world; due, entirely I'm
sure, to that massive bell clamoring away in the heavens.

But when the "Plank of Reason" breaks. One can almost hear the snap, the
crack of reason crumbling away. But then she drops down into what I can
only imagine as an infinite darkness, hitting "a World at every plunge." A
World? This seems to be the most obscure symbol in this poem. Is she
speaking of her life flashing before her as she plummets into the unknown,
her own world crumbling?

But the death finally overcomes her and she 'finishes knowing.' Which I
like to think alludes to Descartes' "I think, therefore I am." Not
knowing, that is how Dickinson would most likely summarize death. It is
how most intellectuals would.

Casey from United States
Comment 5 of 100, added on June 1st, 2005 at 7:43 PM.

i enjoyed the poem and have linked it with sylvia plath's "Tulips" in an
essay for my final yr as they are both about trying to escape the pressures
of life and externalising their inner torment. however i would love to
find out about her background family life. she was obviously quite a rich
member of the bourgeouisie to be able to sit in what sounds like a tower
as she use to let down baskets through some pulley system why she was a
recluse. but if anyone has any knowledge of her background please let me
know . i also found it interesting how we can look at dickinson and see
how ppl haven't changed...there are still today people as ignorant as our
young emily (or emilie as she liked to be called) who lived through the
civil war and not once has she even given mention to it, like critics said"
she worte about the biggest event: herself." i hope we can all learn from
the young recluse because i for one do not want to be as blind and ignorant
as she was to such huge events and cut myself off from social history when
some claim i wasn't even depressed i just had an obsession with death.
this is what emilie did and i hope no one repeats such behaviour.

micc
Comment 4 of 100, added on May 17th, 2005 at 4:31 PM.

i have to say i love this poem but i have known the last word to be "then"
not "nothing". i think this poem is there dealing with her own feelings,
mind, and torment until she realises something "and finished knowing-then"
but wont let us in on it. she also is trying to push away the people who
are trying to help her but make her trying to find this realisation harder,
maybe she hints a reason why she became a recluse

jennifer from United States
Comment 3 of 100, added on March 4th, 2005 at 10:04 PM.

I think this poem is about her describing what its like when were
brainwashed. the mourners are the pple trying to change her. the funeral in
her brain is the the part in her brain that is being destroyed from listing
to others."kept treading-treading on my thoughts". the poem i had at school
was a little different.

Sherese from United States
Comment 2 of 100, added on January 27th, 2005 at 8:20 AM.

THIS POEM MAKE MY HEAD TURN UPSIDE DOWN... IT TAKE LONG TIME FOR ME TO
REALIZE WHAT IS THE REAL MEANING OF THE POEM... IT TALKS ABOUT PAIN AND
AGONY OF THE WRITER... I THINK THIS POEM IS BASED ON HER TRAGIC EPERIENCE
OF HER PAST LIFE...

KATE from Philippines
Comment 1 of 100, added on January 11th, 2005 at 3:49 PM.

A tribute to Emily's genius, a hint to my overbearing bitter teacher:
I felt a funeral in my Brain
And my teacher to and fro
Kept treading- treading- on my thoughts
Till his dull wit was breaking through.

And when we all were silent
His voice, like a drum
kept treading- treading- and at last
My mind gave up and went numb-

And then he turned to a new poem
It tore right through my soul,
His slanderous Boots of lead, again,
I wish- the bell would toll,

And then a Plank of Boredom, broke,
And i dropped down and down-
I didnt think it could get much worse,
And finished knowing- nothing-

Hatty from United Kingdom

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Information about I felt a Funeral, in my Brain,

Poet: Emily Dickinson
Poem: 280. I felt a Funeral, in my Brain,
Volume: Complete Poems of Emily Dickinson
Year: 1955
Added: Jan 9 2004
Viewed: 1996 times
Poem of the Day: Jan 24 2001


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