Neurocomic & “The Brain Is Wider than the Sky” (Option 1)


Two representations of the brain that I found in the readings, was in the work, Neurocomic, by Dr. Matteo Farinella and Dr. Hana Ros, as well as in the poem, “The Brain is wider than the sky”, by Emily Dickinson. The representation of the brain in Neurocomic takes a neurological approach that employs the aid of imagery to allow for an easier understanding of the text, which explores some very complex ideas. The graphic novel takes readers on a journey into what they should conclude as being their own brains. The novel illustrates the different functions of the brain in an anthropomorphic way and the settings of the various panels assimilate to what readers are familiar with in the tangible world. Some examples of this is when the main character falls into a pool of balls that are really vesicles (36), or when he meets the neurotransmitters that are actually miniature people with literal keys which open the receptors (47). The most surprising aspect of the novel’s representation of the brain, is the way in which it made the reader into the “true” main protagonist at the end when the female character says, “our existence relies on the brain of the reader” (132). This work is quite meta in that it can be categorized as a graphic novel about the inner workings of the brain that depends on those same functions to make connections. Therefore, the reader is able to visualize what is happening in their brains as they read about the brain.

Emily Dickinson’s poem is similar to Neurocomic in its use of imagery. Dickinson writes, “THE BRAIN is wider than the sky, / For, put them side by side.” These lines are metaphor and hyperbole. They are clear exaggerations and differ from Neurocomic because they do not explicitly address neuroscience. Also, the term “brain” can be viewed as a representation of the mind in this poem. The line, “The one the other will include”, shows that the scope of the brain (or mind) is immeasurable and able to process the experience of seeing the vast sky. Another way in which the “brain” is not meant to be taken as literal, is in the line that says, “The brain is just the weight of God”. Logically, God cannot be weighed because he is an unseen deity that cannot be contained. Yet, we may see and touch the physical brain by opening the skull. This representation surprised me because it is typical to think of the brain and mind as separate entities, but Dickenson does not make that distinction. Instead “the brain” is used as a synonym for the mind, which weighs nothing but holds a world of knowledge.

One thing that is indeed true for both texts is that they examine the internal wonders of the brain.

3 thoughts on “Neurocomic & “The Brain Is Wider than the Sky” (Option 1)”

  1. I like your connections with both “Neurocomic” and Emily Dickinson’s poem. Its interesting to see how both use their own modes of representation to show the activities of the brain. Its interesting how “Neurocomic” leaves the concept of the “mind” in the hands of the reader, showing that it varies person to person. I really like your explanation of the line, “the brain is just the weight of God.” How we cannot truly weigh the mind, because its an “unseen” entity, separating the brain and mind from being one.

  2. Hi Asheka! I loved your connection between these two works. I had never thought of Emily Dickenson as a scientist. I love your points about the nature of the two works. I feel that while Dickenson and Ros attempt to explain the brain to us, Dickenson does so by mystifying the brain, making it “larger than the sky”, while Ros attempts to make the brain understandable, deconstructing it, in a way, in order to de-mystify it. Thanks for the comparison! Hoping you’re well!

  3. The brain is wider than the sky, denser than a forest–can become a prison for an unrequited love. So many metaphors for the mind-brain relationship!

    Emily Dickinson definitely had a lot of scientific interests–and mathematical ones.

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