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

Topics: Mind, Psychology, Soul, Brain, Thought / Pages: 14 (3360 words) / Published: Nov 15th, 2012
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 poem Dickinson expresses the idea of a breakdown which is both psychological and physical.
The opening stanza presents the metaphor of a funeral that is used throughout the poem to convey the sense of a breakdown. “Brain” refers to both the concrete physical organ and to the abstract idea of the speaker’s mind; such dual meanings are used throughout the poem to convey the physical and mental effects of the breakdown. The noun “Funeral” refers to the speakers psychological mind in which she feels like is slowly dying. The speaker is experiencing synaesthesia as well as feeling detached from her body and her thoughts, she is also having difficulty organising her thoughts. Both “Funeral” and “Brain” have capital letters which emphasise the importance of their impact and the theme throughout the poem. Both words are polar opposites as you wouldn’t relate your brain which is the most powerful and most important organ to that of a funeral which is related to death, sadness and sorrow. This therefore implies that the speaker is experiencing a depression of the mind. The fact that the speaker “felt” a funeral in her brain suggests that the funeral is psychological instead of a physical event. The speaker expresses her feelings instead

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