I Felt a Funeral, in My Brain

Topics: Edgar Allan Poe, The Tell-Tale Heart, Funeral Pages: 1 (381 words) Published: March 26, 2007
The poem by Emily Dickinson circa 1861 beginning "I felt a Funeral, in my Brain" explores several subjects contained within an extended metaphor of a funeral service. This metaphor is evident in the word Funeral, Mourners, Service, Box (containing the body), Soul, Heavens, Bell (rung to signal the passing). All these are capitalized to add emphasis and connect the meaning. Other capitalized words in the poem include Sense and Reason. We are told that the planks separate these concepts from being realized. There are people above the floor that can be heard in the basement but only impressions of them are felt. There is no way to fully conceptualize what kind of people they are. The whole poem has a quick beating rhythm like the Drum in the poem created by using short words and by using repetition of "beating" and "treading" we have the added effect of stress. The pattern gives the same sort of apprehension as the Tell-Tale heart of Poe and the mocking dialog his Raven. To me this poem speaks originally as the retelling of Poe's "The Tell-Tale Heart" from the point of the hidden heart. The heart hears the searchers above it and is pleading for its discovery so the truth can be revealed. In this interpretation the heart does not actually but envy's the beating above it, from line 15 "And I, and Silence, some strange Race/ Wrecked, solitary here". The heart and silence are different than all above and it is jealous of not beating like the footsteps. Race in the line also implies a racing heart; silence is a strange racing heart. After reading deeply into this meaning I also discovered a secondary theme. What Dickinson describes as "a Funeral, in my Brain" may be nothing more than writers block. She has ideas but they are blocked by the invisible wall (floor). She can hear the percussion of brilliance but can not see the Sense and Reason. At the end of the poem the floor breaks and the "World[s]" are revealed to her. In the context of this interpretation World can be...
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