Exploration of the Brain in Emily Dickinson's Poem 670

Exploration of the Brain in Emily Dickinson's Poem 670

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Exploration of the Brain in Emily Dickinson's Poem 670


The brain is one of the most complex organs of the entire human body. How many people over the course of time have explored and tried to explain the brain? Even with millions of peoples' opinions of how the brain works, we still do not understand the most intrinsic parts of it.

The tricky part is the subconscious. We are able to hide things, even from ourselves, for years. How is it that we can bury so much information that becomes so hard to find?

Emily Dickinson understood this concept. She did not understand the way the brain works, perhaps, but without a doubt she did understand that it is able to conceal things from ourselves. "The brain has Corridors-surpassing Material place" (3-4). Surpassing all material things, the brain is past those things.

Within the corridors are heaps of information that we sometimes even become unaware of. Something has to be a trigger, to set off a specific corridor in order to bring that information back to mind. Many times this is proven when a person whom has endured abuse as a child is counseled. Psychiatrists have to probe deep into those corridors to retrieve information that the child has willingly or subconsciously buried.

So, why was Dickinson so interested in these corridors? Perhaps she was dealing with something of her past and during that time realized how hard it is to retrieve things sometimes. Perhaps she was counseling a close friend or family member and wrote this as a result of that. Perhaps she was studying the brain and became interested in doing research. Perhaps none of these things were the case with Dickinson. Whatever her reason, the poem shows much thought.


We go on to read that any ghost meeting at midnight is safer than probing into that abyss called the mind. Why is it so unsafe? Well, what kind of things do we bury deep into our minds? Normally, they are things that we want to forget, painful memories, and embarrassing experiences. Those things can definitely be considered dangerous. If they were not dangerous, why would we bury them in the first place? To illustrate this point, I am going to tell you a story.

I am the child of an alcoholic father. I have always lived under dangerous circumstances, and because of this, I have chosen to forget much of my childhood.

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Just a few weeks ago, I began thinking about conversations that my sister and I now have as grown-ups. I realized that we never talk about our childhood unless we are talking about pranks that we played solely on one another. Nothing else is ever mentioned.

While thinking about this poem, I began thinking about my childhood. I remember things, but I do not know how much I have forgotten, or buried. I tried to think back as far as I could to see what I have remembered from years ago. I came up with a scene of my parents aiming guns at each other in our front yard. But then I realized that I do not really remember much of this incident. I cannot picture it in my mind. I think I remember it because my mother has told me about it in recent years. So, I began thinking some more. What I have realized is that the only incidents I remember of my childhood from ten years old and below are experiences that did not occur at our house or that do not involve my father.

So, what is the point of this story you ask. The point is that many dangerous things have been buried in my brain. I believe that the information is there, but I must be willing to go in and recover it.

You may not find this to be very dangerous. But if the table were turned, would you think the same thing. If you begin thinking about your past, will you be able to walk right through those corridors, or are you going to find it too dangerous. You might have had a wonderful childhood. I guarantee, though, that in the corridors of your own brain, things are buried. How about that embarrassing moment in high school? What about the time you had a crush on that special person, and they never gave you the time of day? Or maybe that time that you studied for a test for a week and still failed it?

Now you may think I am being uncouth, but I believe that this is the message that Emily Dickinson was trying to convey. She knew that the brain is a complex and dangerous place to infringe upon. Maybe she was warning you to stay away from that dark and haunted place. But perhaps she was challenging you to learn yourself better. Find out who you really are by going into and through those corridors.
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