Fresh Voices: Composition at Cal Poly

Article Title

Funeral in my Head


Katie Boyer’s “Funeral in my Head” is an unconventional personal narrative in which the writer imagines her grandmother’s funeral. What do funerals represent to the writer and her family members? What do they represent to you? Close your eyes and recall visiting your grandmother. What sights, sounds, and smells come to mind? What specific details about her grandmother does Boyer include in her essay? How do the imagined details compare to those from her actual experience?

Boyer takes risks with her content—imagining a funeral—as well as her form. The first thing you may have noticed about this essay is the use of italics: what do they signify? The essay is fairly choppy, yet memory and daydreaming are often fragmentary. Does Boyer’s essay show a link between form and content? Does the unorthodox organization work? If yes, how so? If not, what might improve it? How might you describe the tone of “Funeral in my Head,” and how does Boyer convey it (ex. title, first line, point of view, descriptions). This stylistic approach may evoke varied responses from readers, but Boyer’s internal and external observations about this moment in her life certainly resonate.