How Does Emily Dickinson Try to Describe a Psychological State in Her Poem "I Felt a Funeral in My Brain"

3372 WordsNov 27, 201214 Pages
How does Emily Dickinson try to describe a psychological state in her poem “I felt a Funeral in my Brain?” Emily Dickson was born in 1830, in the town of Amherst, Massachusetts. She grew up in a prominent and prosperous household in which she was raised as a cultured Christian woman. The sixteenth centaury was a very historical period in America. During this time slavery had been abolished, women were campaigning for rights, gold was discovered and America was going through a depression. Transcendentalism was one of the most important movements of the time. The poem “I felt a Funeral in my Brain” appears to convey the experience of a mind facing its own collapse. “Funeral in my Brain” is a metaphor for the death of the mind. Throughout the…show more content…
Treading is a harsh word, the fact that it’s repeated suggests that it’s ongoing; they are not stopping. The mourners may be treading so that the speaker begins to understand, they may be treading to bring out a sense of reality back in to her, they are trying to wake her up. This links to the idea of sleep paralysis; she may be dreaming and not aware. Dickinson also uses alliteration to emphasis and enhances the word “treading”. “That sense was breaking through” this implies that the speaker is understanding what is going on , things are starting to make sense to her as the mourners were treading which sparked something in her brain to understand. On the other hand there are many different things which could be breaking through to her. It may be that the mourners are pushing her to make sense or that she finally understood herself and her own sense and beliefs were sinking in. Her “sense” (or knowledge) of what is occurring begins “breaking through” to climax in some kind of understanding about her impending devastation. Like the word brain, which has two meanings, the word sense can also refer to the speaker’s physical senses, which are likewise affected by the mourners plaguing her mind. In addition I felt a cleaving in my mind compares to I felt a funeral in my brain in many ways. The poet has been in a depression and unhealthy mental state. In the first stanza she feels like her brain is splitting and she is trying to

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