Emily Dickinson Diction

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Emily Dickinson is one of the most complex and misunderstood artists of all time. Students are taught that Dickinson is a woman who went crazy in her room and wrote thousands of talented poems. In reality, she’s a complex and unique person compared to almost all other people that her ideas and lifestyle were misunderstood. Dickinson’s level of writing in her letters and poems made it hard for anyone else to be able to understand her and communicate back effectively. This inability to relate to Dickinson often leads to a misunderstanding of her poems, and poem number 340 “I felt a Funeral, in my Brain” is no exception to this misunderstanding. At a basic understanding of the poem with no prior knowledge of Dickinson and her work, this is a poem …show more content…
Dickinson introduces the reader to a funeral that is going on in her brain and the mourners who have gathered for this funeral. In a traditional understanding of this poem, the funeral is a negative, solemn event that signals the loss of something. At Dickinson’s funeral, it can be seen as a spiritual rebirth and a positive, necessary part of life. Dickinson’s use of vocabulary and literary strategies is important to understand her different interpretation of the funeral. The first major stylistic aspect to note is that Dickinson starts the poem by using the metaphor “I felt a Funeral” (153). Metaphors are more intense than similes and make the funeral seem more realistic than if she used a simile. This leads to a more real feeling involving the funeral instead of something that’s purely in your brain. A second choice to note is the use of the word “Brain” (153) in the first line . The word brain is a physical object that one can hold, while another synonymous word such as mind is not a physical object. Using this specific diction adds to the theme of the poem which is a realistic funeral going on for Emily. The next line in the poem contains repetition in the form of “treading - treading” (153). This use of repetition adds a rhythmic aspect that can be seen throughout the poem. Finally, the last major point that should be noted in the first stanza is the capitalization of the word “Sense” (153) in line 4. This means …show more content…
In line ten, she uses the spiritual word “Soul” (153) to indicate that the poem will continue in the spiritual world after the shift in the second stanza. This portion of the poem truly represents the death of the physical aspect of the body so that the mental and spiritual aspects of life can be born. Dickinson chooses to use the word “Box” (153) instead of coffin or casket to represent the lack of life and emotion associated with the funeral at this point. One can carry anything in a box, but typically caskets and coffins are reserved for funerals. The imagery associated later in the stanza with “those same Boots of Lead, again,” (153) also adds a more heavy, dark feeling to this part of the poem. Boots of Lead are obviously much heavier than a typical pair of dress shoes worn at a normal funeral, so it simply intensifies the creaking across the floor as they carry the box. In the last line of the stanza, Dickinson mentions that “Space - began to toll,” (153). Often times when one is in a truly silent room, they can hear different ringing sounds and focus in on sounds they normally don’t hear. This is likely the sensation that Dickinson is aiming for in this line, but instead of being a temporary ringing like in life, this ringing is now a part of her space

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