I felt a Funeral, in my Brain
by Emily Dickinson
I felt a Funeral, in my Brain Theme of Religion
You'd think that in a poem about a funeral, the dead person would do the haunting. But in "I felt a Funeral, in my Brain," religion – specifically New England Protestantism – does the haunting. Not literally, of course. But the religious service in this poem is anything but a source of peace and comfort. Religion keeps invading on her space. Although church is supposed to bring a sense of community into one's life, the speaker of this poem feels isolated and abandoned.
Questions About Religion
- Does religion have a place in this poem, or does Dickinson just adapt religious symbols to suit her own purposes?
- What religious element is most important in this poem: doctrine or ritual?
- Does the poem take a stand on the question of the eternality of the soul?
- Is religion portrayed negatively in this poem? If so, how and where?
Chew on This
"I felt a Funeral, in my Brain" is not about traditional religion. Dickinson treats the funeral as a secular ritual.