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In the extraordinary "I felt a Funeral, in my Brain," written, according to Franklin's dating, in 1862, she describes figuratively the terror she had experienced, and its explosive effect on her, in terms of a confrontation with existential dread. Forced to look life's abyss "squarely in the face"--as she says in a later companion poem, "I never hear that one is dead" (no. 1324; P, 915)--she felt her world split apart, leaving her "Wrecked, solitary here," the numb survivor of some kind of shattering internal cataclysm which she compares to madness, death, and loss.


From My Life a Loaded Gun: Dickinson, Plath, Rich, and Female Creativity. Copyright © 1986 by Paula Bennett. Reprinted with the permission of the author.