What interests you or does not interest you about "I felt a Funeral, in my Brain” by Emily Dickinson?

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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The idea of using words to depict a mental break with accepted reality is an interesting element in the Dickinson poem.  I find it interesting, from the most metaphysical of senses, that Dickinson is able to use words and language to construct a situation that exists outside of either.  This is interesting to me as the poem progresses.  I think that the other element that is fascinating is how radical the poem is for the time period, and even by modern standards.  The exact nature of how an individual breaks with accepted reality, how the mind loses its grip on what others perceive to be established reality, what happens during a breakdown are all elements that modern psychologists still study and analyze and still drive our understanding of the "plank" between sanity and insanity.  Dickinson explores this in a progressive manner in her poem and it is interesting to examine how she assesses the process.  There is still so much about mental illness and the emotional triggers of the brain about which we lack understanding.  To see Dickinson detail her take on this is powerful and quite compelling as a matter of interest.


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