Emily Dickinson's Collected Poems

Portrayal of Insanity in I Felt a Funeral in my Brain 11th Grade

I Felt a Funeral in my Brain presents a narrative image of one slowly descending into madness and gives the reader a first person outlook on the whole ordeal. This poem, written by Emily Dickinson, a depressed antisocial poet, was written in 1862 in the solitude of her own home. Dickinson uses metaphors and imagery of funerals, planks, and mourners to describe the situation at hand. The main theme of this poem is one’s journey into madness, from the beginning where “Sense” (line 4) is still reasonable, until the end, where “a Plank of Reason broke” (line 17). Throughout the poem, Dickinson tells a story, not from her own experience, but rather from her imagination and contemplations over a loss of reason and insanity. This expository poem I Felt a Funeral in my Brain gives Dickinson’s view that one’s journey into insanity is originated by ones imagination by using imagery, metaphors, and a narrative story.

From the first stanza of I Felt a Funeral in my Brain, Emily Dickinson uses morbid metaphors in her narrative. From the first line, one can tell that it is not a literal funeral, but instead a metaphorical death. Dickinson is using the metaphor of a funeral to represent that part of her, most specifically her reason, is...

Join Now to View Premium Content

GradeSaver provides access to 1331 study guide PDFs and quizzes, 9975 literature essays, 2512 sample college application essays, 474 lesson plans, and ad-free surfing in this premium content, “Members Only” section of the site! Membership includes a 10% discount on all editing orders.

Join Now

Already a member? Log in