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Flashcards in I Felt A Funeral In My Brain Deck (22)
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Key themes

Sensation, (life after) death, existence, the mind (breakdown), dimensions, gothic tropes


How does Dickinson use parataxis

To shape gothic tropes (repetition of continuations eg 'and then'. Creates a macabre and frightening atmosphere, pulling the reader In through the use of present participle (treading, beating)


What does Dickinson soley use the sense of hearing

She can isolate gothic tropes and mirror them because out brains will fill in the gaps with things far more putrid than can be written. Imagination is more putrid than the written


Structurally what does 'treading' and 'beating' lead to.

A 'lead weight' that first creates a numb feeling and then a 'creaking'


What does the breaking of the plank show

That society is the reason for the weakness and breakdown because she cannot withstand the pressure of her peers


Explain 'I felt a funeral in my brain'

Abstract ideas. Made to sound concrete. Sinister and disturbing imagery


Explain 'mourners to and fro/kept treading, treading'

Percussive (repeated word treading)


Explain the auditory imagery

Example of the form mirroring content - echoed in the line 'beating, beating'


Explain 'senses was breaking through'

Raises the idea that sense is a source of enlightenment (ambiguous)


Explain 'a service like a drum'

Drum is used to keep a beat so by relating a service to it she could say the funeral is a way of humans composing control and order over death. (Argument against religion- world is not conclusion?)


Explain 'I thought/my mind was going numb'

This is oxymoronic, with the 'thought' implying an activity of the brain mirrored with the implied inactivity of being numb.
Sensory breakdown and loss of feeling (seen in fly buzz)


Key techniques

Anaphora, synecdoche, metaphor, juxtaposition, parataxis


Explain 'creak across my soul'

Possibility of separation of the soul (example of speaker having existential crisis?) -being oppressed controlled and crushed


Explain 'being but an ear'

Speaker reduces themselves to a single body part showing that they are reduced in death. -they can only play a passive role in the experience (dehumanises them)


Explain 'wrecked, solitary, here'

The word 'wrecked' implies a shipwreck (an analogy used in other poems such as 'this world is not conclusion' to illustrate death)


How do ceasura breaks frame the word 'solitary'

To deal with the idea of solipsism- that we can never know anybody else or what they are thinking


Explain 'and then a plank in reason broke'

-shows that's the poem has structurally gone from slightly concrete to not concrete at all. The breaking is the climax of the poem


Explain 'I dropped down and down/and hit a world at every plunge'

Indicating death because of a dimensional shift. The letter W is capitalised to foreground the noun-this shows that more worlds exist, so why be defined by the views of one religion.
Physical spiral can lead to mental enlightening (breakdown can be positive)


Explain 'And finished, knowing, then'

The 'knowing' implies that death causes enlightenment- however there is a juxtaposition between the word finished and the continual punctuation of the dash. Gothic trope of ending on a cliffhanger, and showing that we are nothing


Links to other poems about shipwreck

The world is not conclusion


Link to other poems about dimensions

A bird came down the walk, what mystery pervades a well


Link to other poems about sensations

Fly buzz