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The poem “I felt a funeral, in my brain” by Emily Dickson explores the wicked human nature, going through a depressing moment to a point of mental breakdown. The historical background of the writer shows that Emily was living in a total seclusion and only utilized her entire life writing poems. Though the poem may be interpreted to suit her life it was also directed to all those who keep stuffs to themselves and avoid other people’s company. This poem is therefore set-out to encourage the social nature of human beings.
The poem is based on unrealistic story of death and life after death possibly visible in a dream. The metaphorical use of funeral in the poem denotes the end of life which can be caused by the continued mental depression in the human’s life. In that extreme condition you feel totally alienated from the normal life, denoted by the funeral service in the poem. The lonely and stressful moments in life is therefore compared to death and should therefore be avoided by sharing ideas with friends and other close members of your family. There is a funeral service in the poem which can be taken to indicate how terrifyingly it feels to be depressed. The presence of heaven and strange race denotes a new life obtained after death. It can be taken to mean the end of miserable life and beginning of a totally good and stress free life. However at the end you wake up only to find that it was just but a dream, and that you are still much alive though in the same stressful situation.
In the first stanza the writer brings out the status of mental breakdown by using the word funeral. The word brain in the poem has two meaning, the physical organ in the human head and the abstract idea in the speaker’s mind. The two meanings have been used collectively throughout the poem to signify the physical and the mental effects of stress and breakdown. It seems like the mourners were the real cause of this frustrations and they repeatedly did it to the writer as it can be seen in the third line of the first stanza. The anger and frustration made he reach to a breakdown point.
In the second stanza there is the burial ceremony where the drum is beaten again and again. This shows that even after people brings chaos into your life, they continue never stop it even after making you suffer. And it is because of this that we sometimes feel totally fed up, as denoted by the writer’s mind going numb.
In the third stanza the writer is talking about the mourners carrying the box, and as they match towards the burial site, sounds of boots matching could be felt. And this is when the soul departed. It shows that people will still bother you until the last minute when you are no more. And at this juncture you will start a new life otherwise called living eternity.
The fourth stanza denotes a new life as signified by the metaphor heaven. And behold no more sorrow and no more pain. This is as it has always been told on earth, but now experiencing it first-hand. Shockingly, the place is full of people from different races wrecked and lonely as on earth. Even after hoping for a better life after death, problems still seems to follow us into our graves. This stanza describes life after death and according to the writer; it is somehow shocking because similar cruelty seems to follow mankind into the grave. This was as opposed to what it’s believed about life after death.
And in the fifth and the last stanza she woke up and realized that it was just but a dream. With a feeling of disappointment and guilt, she came into her senses. But this time more enlightened than before on issues concerning life and death. It was like a special revelation about life. It symbolizes how we undergo trying moments but finally endures having learnt a lesson from them.
In conclusion the poem is very significant to the people living in the current generation. It was written to encourage those who are feeling discouraged, lonely and depressed and give them hope. There is a light after the dark tunnel and they therefore ought to take heart and persevere. The tribulations come and go, but what is very important is the way we overcome them. We should not wish we are dead when faced with hardships and trials, but we should be encouraged to keep on fighting. Escapism is not the way out, but it sometimes lead us into more problems than what we earlier had. We were all created with a reason, and at no any time one should disregard the presence of the other. We ought to live in unison and we should share our happiness and sorrows since two are better than one. Loneliness should be avoided at all cost as problem shared is half solved.