I Felt A Funeral In My Brain Analysis

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Emily Dickinson became very well known for her fascination with death. Many of her poems focus on loss or loneliness, but the most compelling ones talk particularly about dying, specifically her own death and her own afterlife. Her captivation with suffering gives her poems a rare aspect, giving insight into a mind and a topic we know very little about. “Because I could not stop for Death” closely demonstrates Emily’s fascination with her religious doubts and life continuing after death. In this poem, the speaker is looking back on the moment of death, whereas in “I heard a fly buzz when I died,” the speaker is looking at the moments leading up to death, and in “I felt a funeral in my brain,” the speaker is describing death itself.
In Emily’s
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Rather than looking back on the events surrounding dying like in the two previous poems, Emily attempts to describe the unknown experience of a mind facing its own collapse, “The Brain” representing both the concrete physical organ as well as the abstract idea of the speaker’s mind. In “I felt a Funeral, in my Brain,” Emily focuses more on the pain, loss, and panic of death, contrasting with the usual acceptance and readiness for one’s departure from life that she previously wrote about. This poem also extends to the idea of death in the mind, relating to both Emily’s usual topic of physically dying as well as the thought of losing one’s reason and sanity. This poem dramatizes the speaker’s growing fears and mental instability primarily through the use of sound, describing an attack of the speaker’s senses, mind, and sanity. Near the end, the sounds of the poem have grown increasingly louder and more menacing as the breakdown of both the mind and death itself creep upon the speaker. “I felt a Funeral, in my Brain” is a poem that presents the impending mental collapse of its speaker, a collapse that Emily relates to the rituals of a funeral to ultimately explore the figurative “death” of the speaker’s
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