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

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Comment 15 of 115, added on February 20th, 2006 at 10:24 AM.

This poem is awesome! I read it like 10 times until i finally got my own
explanation out of it.

Anonymous from United States
Comment 14 of 115, added on January 17th, 2006 at 8:09 PM.

I think that this poem is about a descent into madness and therefore do not
agree with the final word being--nothing. From what I have learned about
Emily Dickinson, I know that she was infatuated with the thought of losing
consciousness of self. The "plank of reason" breaking is losing this
self-consciousness and as a result descending into madness. I love the
sounds of this poem how throughout it I can hear the treading and the
beating and the lead boots, and at the last stanza there is silence.

robert from United States
Comment 13 of 115, added on January 8th, 2006 at 11:18 AM.

I don't like transcendentalism or anti-transcendentalism and when Emily
Dickinson is added it is so much worse. I read I felt a Funeral, in my
Brain, and i understood it but i can not find any characteristics of

Andrea from United States
Comment 12 of 115, added on December 11th, 2005 at 1:03 PM.

I don't understand this poem. What important sense in this poem is not
present in this poem? What finally happens to the speaker at the end? Does
she die, does she just pass out, does finally realize what is happening to

Sicily from United Kingdom
Comment 11 of 115, added on December 8th, 2005 at 7:19 AM.

After reading this poem for my AP Lit class, i couldnt stop thinking about
it. One of the main things that puzzled me were to lead boots..

However, after thinking some more about the poem, I would have to agree
that it is speaking about several things. The brain washing was an
interesting idea, but i dont think she meant it to that extreme of a
position. It really warns about letting others destroy an image or hope
that you have in your mind. The funeral was of a strong belief/thought she
had that was ruined because of someone else attempting to force their
opinion onto her.

After this thought is ruined, she is completly confused and lost. The
silence is representative of her closing her mind off to all others in the
world, not allowing them to posion her mind. Instead, she opens up to
something bigger, something better than a mere mortal.

She becomes an ear to the heavens and looks for guidance from a heigher
being. She shows her weakness by opening up and allowing some heavenly
figure to speak the truth to her.

But again, if anyone could explain the lead boots to me, i would greatly
appreciate it.

Jordan from United States
Comment 10 of 115, 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 115, 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 115, 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 115, 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 115, 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

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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: 179 times
Poem of the Day: Jan 24 2001

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