“…Then a Plank in Reason Broke…” with Close Reference to Language, Structure and Form, Consider Dickinson’s Presentation of Emotional Trauma in “I Felt a Funeral, in My Brain”. You Should Link Your Discussion to Other

Topics: Brain, Poetry, Mind Pages: 4 (1483 words) Published: March 12, 2012
Emily Dickinson was an American poet who lived in Amherst, Massachusetts, where she lived an introverted and reclusive life. She was brought up in a strict Puritan family, though her poems suggest that she rebelled against her strong, religious upbringing, and many of her poems reflect the view that she did not see religion as a positive or sacred way to live you life, and while her family joined the church, Dickinson remained unconverted and so this made her ineligible for church membership.

Dickinson presents emotional trauma in “I felt a Funeral, in my Brain,” by instantly creating the image of a mental breakdown, the idea of a funeral taking place in a person’s brain merges a psychological death with a physical death. The image of the speakers mental breakdown is portrayed through physical means “And then a Plank in Reason, broke,” If a plank is missing from the floorboards of a room, it makes the room unstable, insecure, and this portrays the mind of the speaker breaking down, becoming unstable and dangerous. The idea of the Brain physically dying is sinister and confusing, and creates an abstract opening. This is supported by the funeral imagery, mourners, the coffin and funeral service. Which give a concrete form to Dickinson’s abstract feelings. Dickinson creates a feeling of mounting pressure and tension in the first two stanzas the repetition of ‘trending’ and ‘beating’. This suggests that there is a relentless force, pressure acting against the mind, numbing the mind with its constant and never-ending beating. The use of the letter ‘B’, which is a plosive consonant creates a feeling of contempt towards the constant beating, which is taking place in the speaker’s head, driving them mad.

The idea of the human sense are played upon in this poem, Dickinson takes away certain senses such as sight, thought whenever one sense is taken away, another sense is heightened “And then I heard them lift a Box –“ this shows how the speaker has lost their sense of...
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