I Felt a Funeral, in my Brain

Andrew Bird’s “I Felt a Funeral, in my Brain”

Emily Dickinson’s poem, “I Felt a Funeral, in My Brain” was so inspiring that it inspired Andrew Bird, to make a song, out of her poem. He describes the poem as,

I came across this Emily Dickinson poem and found it to be the most vivid description of an inner world I’ve ever encountered. It became an inspiration for the songs on Inside Problems.

Below is Emily Dickinson’s poem

I felt a Funeral, in my Brain,

And Mourners to and fro

Kept treading – treading – till it seemed

That Sense was breaking through –

And when they all were seated,

A Service, like a Drum –

Kept beating – beating – till I thought

My mind was going numb –

And then I heard them lift a Box

And creak across my Soul

With those same Boots of Lead, again,

Then Space – began to toll,

As all the Heavens were a Bell,

And Being, but an Ear,

And I, and Silence, some strange Race,

Wrecked, solitary, here –

And then a Plank in Reason, broke,

And I dropped down, and down –

And hit a World, at every plunge,

And Finished knowing – then –

Andrew Bird included all the words from Dickinson’s poem and added music and sound. He made it sound so beautiful. You can’t even question whether poetry is a song, playing in an artist’s head. Dickinson’s poem still has the same beautiful techniques like alliteration, metaphors, and repetition. Dickinson uses alliteration in her poem like “felt a funeral,” “seated, A service, ” silence some strange,” and “dropped down,” (1;6;15;17). Those words have the same letter or sound at the beginning of the adjacent words. Which just adds to the meaning of the poem, and what the speaker is going through. An example of repetition is “treading, treading,” “beating, beating,” and “down, and down,” (3; 7; 17). She has repeated something that has already been said. The rhythmic quality of both alliteration and repetition techniques is in the poem. Therefore, the poetic devices perfectly reflect the theme. Musicality worked because of the way Andrew Bird saw it as a song. It is shown through careful word selections. Finally, Dickinson uses the metaphor of a funeral to represent the way the speaker sense that she is being separated away from herself. A funeral is an appropriate occasion for this poem because it connects with a funeral relating to death.

Bird’s way with music is very fantastic mixed with Dickinson’s poem you see and get a funeral in the brain

Animals vs. Humans: Who does she care for?

Janina our main character loves animals, she loves them so much that she defends them on a daily basis. But how does she feel about human beings? We know she loves children and she feels that teaching a child up to the age of 10 is very important because you can install your beliefs in them, and try to shape them (114). But we also know that she likes Dizzy, even though she calls him fragile and small with girlish hands, but on pg.75 she says “I had always cared about Dizzy very much, and I didn’t want him to take me for a lunatic. Not him.” This shows me that Dizzy as a person has a good relationship with Janina, because of their connection with Blake, but also because they believe in each other. But what about Oddball, I mean he had been Janina’s neighbor ever since she moved there. She does seem to be friendly with him, but when she was telling him about his theory of the animal killing humans, he told her to keep her theory to herself (not knowing that no animals did the killing) and that it could do her harm. But the fact is that she felt hurt by his statement, maybe because he didn’t believe what she felt that she was doing helping the animals, or maybe it’s the fact that he cared.

A pattern I saw in Janina’s choice of friends was that they don’t harm animals like the other kind of humans she doesn’t like. They don’t hunt and maybe they eat meat, but we don’t know that they do. Although Janina didn’t know Boros, she did see that he didn’t like that people would harm the trees that the insects lived in. And even he felt a way when she asked him which insect is more useful (135). He didn’t like that, and they connected more when he said “From nature’s point of view no creatures are useful or not useful. That’s just a foolish distinction applied by people.” From that point, I think Janina liked him even more. Janina may not have a lot of friends but the friends she does have, connect with her. Even a person that wasn’t in the book for long was a little shop assistant who was wearing a fake fur hat, which Janina pointed out to us. That was how their friendship began. Even if it was a small encounter I believe that Janina liked her because of the fake fur hat.

It’s clear that Janina thinks of animals as humans, and will do anything for them. (Like Kill). But I don’t think of Janina any different from when I was first introduced to her. I still have compassion for her. And even if she doesn’t like humans that much, she has really good friends that are human.

Comedy: Wanna Laugh Or Not…?

What makes a comedy, is it something that makes you laugh, giggle, or fall out of your chair on the floor cracking up? Well, in order to find out you must know what a comedy is. The merriam-webster definition of comedy is,

a literary work written in a comic style or treating a comic theme

And comic means to cause laughter. So now that we know what consists of comedy, what is the answer to the question. For me, it’s all of the above, a good movie or tv show that you can just sit back, watch, and laugh about. Well in this case a Comedy, Thriller, Action, Crime Fiction Adventure, and Buddy Cop, movie gives us that representation. I present Rush Hour, starring Jackie Chan and Chris Tucker.

Rush Hour is about saving a Chinese diplomat’s daughter when she is kidnapped, and of course, he would want his finest on the job so he reaches out to Lee a detective from Hong Kong, knowing that he can help the FBI search for her, but the FBI doesn’t want nothing to do with Lee, so they hire LAPD’s joke James Carter also a detective, making him think he is essential to the case. In the start, Lee and Carter can’t stand each other, but they choose to work together to solve the case on their own when they figure out they’ve been ditched by both the FBI and the police.

Although this movie is based on crime and danger, the plot between Lee and Carter being total opposites working together makes it funny. And the fact that this movie stars a Black and a Chinese man, and them being in an interracial partnership, it can seem like this movie would have failed. But because of this unexpected form of two people from different lives but similar coming together, being totally opposites but forming a real friendship. Made the movie funnier, but also treated that comic style of entertainment. Grossing a total of $245 million worldwide according to The Numbers.

In this scene, Lee and Carter are just now meeting, and Carter don’t want to watch over him like the FBI wants him to but wants to find out some information regarding the girl, and Lee wants to ditch Carter so he can start investigating. They both want to help solve the case but just don’t know how to work together yet. This part of the movie is funny, because of Carter’s ideas of Lee but also the way he was hanging on to the bus trying to catch up to Lee, and when finally catching up to him his ego got in the way, and he started to posing for pictures. While Lee at the end speaking English, and Carter’s face because he didn’t know the whole time. Makes it that much better.

End at 3:05

In this scene, Lee and Carter are better acquainted now and starting to like each other. They start to bond over the song War by Edwin Starr which comes on the radio while they are staking out a restaurant, and Carter starts to critic Lee on how to sing it. Then Carter starts to dance, and Lee shows him an arm move. And then Lee even teaches Carter how to take a gun away from someone, like he did him. The whole singing and dancing part is funny all by itself.

The way this movie presented itself made it so interesting, like you are in the movie with them. The whole plot from start to finish is a work of art. Rush Hour must have been a big comedic hit, because they made two more after it, and a fourth one is on the way. Even one of the most famous lines in this movie is…

You may have heard of it, well this is where it came from. It is funny because of the way Carter is expressly trying to talk to Lee when there was no need for it.

Comedy can have a meaning beyond laughing, because sometimes in life not everything is funny or to made to be funny. Which is what this movie brings to the table, it gives us a sad moment of a little girl being kidnapped and through the journey of the movie makes us laugh, and then provided us with a happy ending. Comedy can be used for de-stressing your self, or when your having a hard time, you look at the good things of life. Because they say “Laughter is the best medicine.” So if you want to laugh or not…I recommend this movie, guaranteed to make you laugh.

Satire: Who needs it?

Describing Satire can be a difficult thing if you don’t know what you are looking for. But an easy definition of Satire is “A form of literary criticism: that uses irony, sarcasm, etc.” I am going to be showing an example of a film titled “Isn’t it Romantic,” which came out 4 years ago, in 2019. It is about a New York architect who wants to get noticed at her job but things go bad when she gets knocked unconscious during a subway mugging and magically wakes up to find herself in an alternate universe. Now that sounds like a regular made-up movie. But this film has satire because it overly exaggerates how love is not a fairytale, and how things don’t magically happen when two people fall. And because our main character is always cynical about love this alternate universe is basically her worst nightmare when she finds out that is based on the idea of how Romance is.

Based on this trailer for the movie, we can tell why our main character Natalie is against movies that portray romance, like a well like a movie. And Natalie just like us has seen Rom-Coms like 13 going on 30, Pretty Woman, The Proposal, and every Disney princess movie. But in real life, we know that love is nothing like that: Easy. People have real problems in life and have no time for love or relationships. And so what this film is explaining, is how it mocks the cliches of every romantic comedy movie. This can make the film funny, but what it really focuses on is the irony of the genre.

Satire can be shown in the first beginning of the movie when Natalie is young, and her mother is explaining to her how “love is not a fairytale, there are no happy endings.” Which is the very opposite of how romance in movies.

Even 25 years later, Natalie’s mom’s words are still in her head, and she ends up believing what her mom says. Making herself blind towards any type of love. And even Natalie’s assistant Whitney, who is really into romantic comedies, doesn’t share the same views of love works. And Natalie wanted to share her views, by saying to Whitney that all romcoms are the same. The boy meets the girl and they end up together forever. Which is basically true. Natalie’s whole personality is being against love, creating her own satire.

Although we as people feel that Satire, is basically Comedy, it’s not because it helps us understand what comedy is. What it does and how it makes us react. And I feel that this movie gives us that art of love being ridiculous when it’s portrayed in movies. The idea of what we think it should be is what some people based it on. And sometimes it can discredit its object, but while being funny.

Power: How do you receive it?

In King Lear, we know that as a member of the royal family, or a servant of them, you have a type of power. Whether that’s over the whole kingdom or just over your family. We see Lear use this power to rule over his kingdom, and not long before he hands his “kingdom” over, his power is taken away, unknowing too. Now at first, it doesn’t seem like Goneril, and Regan had a plan, except we find out their true thoughts in Act II.III-IV, where Lear is telling Regan that he won’t go back to Goneril because she wasn’t allowing him to have his 100 knights. Now Lear not understanding the power his daughters have over him, not allowing him to have his knights, because technically he is still king, But they are not treating him like a king.

I feel that this was the start of Lear’s ‘tragedy’ him losing his power, but then losing his love (Cordelia). We know that he favored her the most and if she told him what he wanted to hear she probably would have gotten the whole kingdom. But also because Lear’s power was for him to be respected, and when people started to stop doing that, he started to lose his identity of being a noble stature. And because Lear has had that role all his life, he possibly didn’t want to lose the one thing he knew about himself. And if you think about it Lear didn’t have many friends, the least ones that liked him because he wasn’t king. The only people that did that were Kent, Gloucester, the Fool, and Edgar at the end. We know that Kent only had good intentions because, in Act II, he disguises himself, to be close to Lear, and also keep in contact with Cordelia.

So who has power, everyone, every character in the play has power, but it’s how you use it, that can make you or break you. And I’m not talking about the power you get when ruling a kingdom, I’m talking about the power of love. Lear had love for Cordelia when she died, and Kent had love for Lear as a long life servent. Egdar had love for Gloucester as a father, and Gloucester had love for both his son (until he found out that Edmund betrayed him). And even the villains of the play had love, except they had love for power, and themselves.

River Don’t Go

Charlie Puth’s song “River” from his Nine Track Mind Album, is undeniably poetry. Just the way the song expresses feelings of love and trust makes it an incredible masterpiece. The slow texture of listening to the words and their meaning is very profound. It is one of his overall underrated yet good songs. Along with Charlie’s other songs about love, relationship, and heartbreak, this particular song has a deep metaphor for the word river. This song has a speaker in it which is Charlie and the audience which is his ex-lover and the occasion is really not important. But the what and meaning of the song is about Charlie’s ex-girlfriend blocking him out entirely and acting nonchalant about her pain, and in return makes Charlie feel more hurt as he wants to see her express her emotions more instead of forming into a river and flowing away from him. We get a sense of this in the first stanza, which says…

Look, you can play it cool
Act like you don’t care
River don’t be cruel
You’re pushing me away
Don’t want to get hurt
So you hurt me first
With the words you say

We can notice the AABB rhythmic stanza in the first verse between cool and cruel, and away and say. Also, the way the word river is used. We may ask ourselves well, how can a river be cruel. Because the only definition for a river is, a large natural stream of water flowing in different directions. I can see now, why Charlie chooses the river to be the main idea in his song. Relationships can go in different directions, like rivers. And sometimes with the pressure of the water can also push people away. But the song also doesn’t lose its sense of structure. In the next verse, it explains how Charlie is now giving up on this relationship seeing as going nowhere and now he feels that she should just fall.

Maybe you should fall
That’s what rivers do
’cause when you’re in love
You don’t mind a different view
Things are looking up

So in the song, Charlie is still wanting his ex-girlfriend’s love but again she’s not returning the feelings back to him. But he still pushed forward and wanted to accept the facts and still be with her but continuing to tell her not to run away from him. While listening to the song’s lyrics, Charlie is explaining to his ex-girlfriend how she shouldn’t give up because when the water gets rough where is she going to go his heart is her home and nothing is as cold as running on your own so River you shouldn’t rush. And we can infer that maybe river is a part of a nickname that Charlie has for his ex-girlfriend.

In conclusion ending of the song ends with Charlie continuing to say that she shouldn’t run from him and not from their love. The How of the story and the way the language has meaning is that you should never give up on the things that you love even if it feels like there’s no hope you always have to keep trying because one day you will feel that love and your River Won’t Give Up and won’t run.

The Stranger As We Know It

Throughout the novel “The Stranger” we know that Meursault is a stranger in his society. The way Camus wrote “The Stranger” mainly to challenge society’s moral standards, comes down to relationships, emotions, and actions. Being a stranger means being a stranger to the world. In the society of Algeria, men and women have these stereotypes that they are not supposed to break out of, where they are supposed to live life based on these norms. But the stranger is indifferent to what would be expected. They do the unexpected, they lead different lives from reality. And that’s what makes them strangers.

We know that Meursault is overall a very relaxed and honest person. But when a fun day with some friends leads to five gunshots, and four knocks to the door of unhappiness. Something must be wrong. In chapter 6 it says,

“The sun started to burn my cheeks and I could feel drops of sweat gathering in my eyebrows…It was this burning which I couldn’t stand anymore, that made me step forward…I took a step, one step forward” (59).

From this passage we can sense some tenseness from Meursault, regarding the sun. At this point I’m thinking that Meursault is strange for blaming the sun for his silent breakdown. And when the Arab drew a knife on Meursault. Meursault, already on edge, shot him down. It’s more worrisome. It’s not the personality traits that make a person commit a crime, but the nurture (environment) that’s around them.

When thinking about the law and how it plays a part in Meursault life. We know that he wasn’t very fond of the police, which is what made Raymond like him. Because when it comes down to someone’s life, they’re either right or wrong, guilty or innocent. Which is a norm that everyone is a part of. And what Meursault had done, was the biggest mistake he could have made. Because now he is exposed to the government, and they don’t understand him. And they never would. Now facing the troubles that await him, realizing the always reality of being indifferent from the world.

The Secret to “The Secret Woman”

“Irene walked in front of him, nonchalantly; he was astonished to find that she rolled her hips softly and dragged her feet a little as though she were wearing Turkish slippers.” (Pg.44)

Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette’s “The Secret Woman” tells us a story about a man and a woman being dishonest to each other. In the first page we can see how the husband is telling his wife how he has to tend to a patient of his. We can infer that he’s a type of doctor. He goes on to tell her that he won’t be able to attend the green and purple ball. And so the wife responses with tale of being too shy and timid to be in front of a crowd, so she’s saying she can’t attend the dance either.

We know that they are lying to each other but we just don’t understand why. Reading further down through the pages we know that the husband and the wife are at the dance but just not together. We reads that the husband, is believing he hears his wife’s voice or really a unique cough that his wife does. So the husband is frantically looking for his wife. And when he thinks he sees her, it’s a lady dressed in two satin slippers and black gloves. And he thinks to himself that can’t be her, except he finds out it is her because of a birthday gift. The husband continues to follow his wife, and notices how she rolled her hips softly and dragged her feet. We can see that the husband is confused at why his wife lied, and why she is appearing herself like that. She follows her someone and infers that he is cheating on him.

“She also amused herself by placing her little satanic hands, which were entirely black on the white bosom of a dutch woman wearing a gold head-dress…” (Pg. 46)

The quote above is showing how the husband views her now, as being tainted now and doesn’t hold her in high esteem like before. On pg. 43 he described her has having delicate hands, and wearing a white dress. And on pg. 42, he said she had a narrow face, pink, matt and long. We can interpret that if a female is openly dressing in a sexual way, she is considered not ladylike anymore. And this is what Colette is trying to show us.

The Deeper Bonds of Love

Domination; the state of being in control. Jessica Benjamin expresses domination a lot; she calls it “a twisting of the bonds of love.” She emphasizes that domination starts between yourself and others. And that there’s a psychological destruction within the desire for recognition. Benjamin states that to recognize the heaviness of psychological destruction it has to start with parent and child. That’s where domination kicks in, whether if it’s the child that has dominion over the parent, if they want that special toy, they kick and scream just to get it. Or if the parent has control over the child, by always telling them what to do. Benjamin believes that’s a bond of power and powerlessness. Where you can’t just have good and not evil, but both.

Benjamin’s and Sigmund Freud’s similarity are pertaining to Parent and Child. Well in Freud’s case Father and Son. Which, Benjamin argues, is not fair to leave women out of his subjectivity. So she uses a psychoanalysis theory to show that feminism and masculinity are a new problem of domination along with parent and child. Benjamin mentions this because of how they play a part in Psychoanalysis theory. When we have both feminism and masculinity, it opens up many possibilities for Men and Women to confront the difficulties and recover an idea of interconnection.

Benjamin’s idea of life, can open our own thoughts and connections to the psychoanalysis theory she was explaining about. Like how it’s okay to have masculine features in women or vice-versa for men. And just to dive deeper in the explanations of how she talks about the bond between parent and child, and how sometimes it is rough, especially when you both want to be right, but you know, that’s not fair on all engagements. When reading “The Bonds of Love” we can deeper relate to what Benjamin is talking about and how it has a role on us and the world.