Study Guide

I felt a Funeral, in my Brain Tough-O-Meter

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(8) Snow Line

People tend to disagree about how difficult Dickinson's poetry can be. We think this is a very readable work, but we consider it a sign of Dickinson's enormous talents that she can turn a short, hymn-like poem into a complicated and subtle narrative about an experience that would seem to defy description. Few poets – or, for that matter, writers of any kind – are able to dig so deeply into emotions. If Dickinson were a microphone, she would pick up even the tiniest sounds in an otherwise silent room. In this poem, she uses words and phrases that are almost impossible to pin down: "Sense," "Space," "a Plank in Reason," "some strange Race," "hit a World." Fortunately, it's also a very visual poem. You shouldn't stress out about "not getting" what things mean. No one does exactly. Just pay attention to the sights, sounds, and atmosphere.

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