Syntax in I felt a Funeral, in my Brain
Syntax Examples in I felt a Funeral, in my Brain:
Text of the Poem
"And I, and Silence, some strange Race ..." See in text (Text of the Poem)
The coordinating conjunction “and” breaks this line several times to signal that there are three subjects: “Being,” “I,” and “Silence.” This means that the being can be interpreted as the speaker’s physical body, defined only as an ear by the appositive phrase. The “I” then stands in for the speaker’s self, or soul. Finally, “Silence," described as “some strange Race,” enters the line and “wrecks,” or stops, the tolling of the bells. This entrance metaphorically wrecks both “I” and the “Being.”
"As..." See in text (Text of the Poem)
This stanza represents the total collapse of the speaker’s mental state. The syntax of this stanza mirrors the speaker’s mental collapse. She speaks in fragmented sentences and incomplete thoughts which build metaphors without clear physical referents.
"A Service..." See in text (Text of the Poem)
“A Service” is an odd way to refer to the Funeral in her mind. The pronoun “a” makes the line sound like it is one of many rather than the funeral that she has been talking about throughout the poem. This syntax causes the reader to question which service she refers to.
"—treading—..." See in text (Text of the Poem)
Em-dashes are punctuation marks that indicate emphasis. In repeating the word “treading” and offsetting it with em-dashes, the speaker adds gravity to this word. The mourners are not simply pacing; they are walking with pressure, trampling, and crushing. The emphatic repetition of this word and others throughout the poem creates a tone similar to that of a funeral dirge.