It tells of the fall — literal and figurative — of the House of Usher, an old family in a state of decline. There is an old curse of illness and evil on the Ushers, and though never specified what exactly this evil is, it is hinted that it is incest. Incest would certainly make the family ingrown, weak and mentally unstable.
Immediately Poe entraps us; we have a sense of being confined within the boundaries of the House of Usher. Outside the castle, a storm is raging and inside the castle, there are mysterious rooms where windows suddenly whisk open, blowing out candles; one hears creaking and moaning sounds and sees the living corpse of the Lady Madeline.
This, then, is the gothic and these are its trappings; one should realize by now that these are all basic effects that can be found in any modern Alfred Hitchcock-type of horror film, any ghost movie, or in any of the many movies about Count Dracula. Here is the genesis of this type of story, created almost one hundred and fifty years ago in plain, no-nonsense America, a new nation not even sixty years old.
Besides having a fascination for the weird and the spectral, Poe was also interested in the concept of the double, the schizophrenic, the ironic, and the reverse. He investigated this phenomenon in several stories, including "William Wilson" a story which is analyzed in this volumeand so it is important to note that there is a special importance attached to the fact that Roderick Usher and the Lady Madeline are twins.
Poe is creating in this story his conception of a special affinity between a brother and his twin sister; it is almost as if Poe were "inventing" ESP, for this accounts for the fact that Roderick Usher has heard the buried Lady Madeline struggling with her coffin and her chains for over three days before the narrator hears her.
Unfortunately, modern readers tend to be a little jaded by the many gothic effects. ESP, for example, is rather old hat today as a gothic device, but in Poe's time, it was as frightening and mysterious as UFOs are today.
Late in the story, Roderick Usher says: As a result, every word, every image, and every description in the story is chosen with the central idea in mind of creating a sense of abject terror and fear within both the narrator and the reader.
From the opening paragraphs, ominous and foreboding as they are, to the presentation of the over-sensitive, hopelessly frail and delicate Roderick Usher, to the terrible conclusion with the appearance of the living corpse, all of Poe's details combine to create the anxiety accompanying that "grim phantasm, FEAR.
From the time the unnamed narrator enters the House of Usher until the end of the story when he flees in terror, the entire story is boxed within the confines of the gloomy rooms on an oppressive autumn day where every object and sound is attenuated to the over-refined and over-developed sensitivities of Roderick Usher.
In fact, the greatness of this story lies more in the unity of design and the unity of atmosphere than it does in the plot itself. In terms of what plot there is, it is set somewhere in the past, and we find out that the narrator and Roderick Usher have been friends and schoolmates previous to the story's beginning.
At least Usher considers the narrator to be his friend — in fact, his only friend — and he has written an urgent letter to him, imploring him to come to the Usher manor "post-haste. This is the first effect Poe creates, this "sense of insufferable gloom.
The house, the barren landscape, the bleak walls, the rank sedges in the moat — all these create a "sickening of the heart — an unredeemed dreariness. Poe next sets up a sense of the "double" or the ironic reversal when he has the narrator first see the House of Usher as it is reflected in the "black and lurid tarn" a dark and gruesome, revolting mountain lake which surrounds it.
The image of the house, you should note, is upside down. At the end of the story, the House of Usher will literally fall into this tarn and be swallowed up by it. And even though Poe said in his critical theories that he shunned symbolism, he was not above using it if such symbolism contributed to his effect.
Here, the effect is electric with mystery; he says twice that the windows of the house are "eyelike" and that the inside of the house has become a living "body" while the outside has become covered with moss and is decaying rapidly.
Edgar Allan Poe Biography Poe’s Poetry Questions and Answers The Question and Answer section for Poe’s Poetry is a great resource to ask questions, find answers, and discuss the novel. EDGAR ALLAN POE 5 Thus speaking, Fortunato possessed himself of my arm. Putting on a mask of black silk, and drawing a roquelaire closely about my person, I suffered him to hurry me to my. The Significance of Names in Selected Short Stories by Edgar Allan Poe - Bastian Immanuel Wefes - Term Paper (Advanced seminar) - English Language and Literature Studies - Literature - Publish your bachelor's or master's thesis, dissertation, term .
Furthermore, the ultimate Fall of the House is caused by an almost invisible crack in the structure, but a crack which the narrator notices; symbolically, this is a key image.
Also central to this story is that fact that Roderick and the Lady Madeline are twins. This suggests that when he buries her, he will widen the crack, or fissure, between them.
This crack, or division, between the living and the dead will be so critical that it will culminate ultimately in the Fall of the House of Usher. It is possible that Poe wanted us to imagine that when Usher tries to get rid of that other part of himself, the twin half, he is, in effect, signing his own death warrant.
Certainly at the end of the story, Lady Madeline falls upon him in an almost vampire-like sucking position and the two of them are climactically, totally one, finally united in the light of the full moon, by which the narrator is able to see the tumultuous Fall of the House of Usher.
The full moon, of course, is a traditional prop for stories of this sort; that is, one finds it in all gothic, ghostly, and vampire-type stories. Upon entering the gothic archway of the deteriorating mansion, the narrator is led "through many dark and intricate passages" filled with "sombre tapestries," "ebon blackness," and "armorial trophies.
Over everything, Poe drapes his "atmosphere of sorrow. We sense that some fearful event will soon transpire. When the narrator sees Roderick Usher, he is shocked at the change in his old friend. Never before has he seen a person who looks so much like a corpse with a "cadaverousness of complexion.
Usher tries to explain the nature of his illness; he suffers from a "morbid acuteness of the senses. His eyes, he says, are "tortured by even a faint light," and only a few sounds from certain stringed instruments are endurable.
As Roderick Usher explains that he has not left the house in many years and that his only companion has been his beloved sister, the Lady Madeline, we are startled by Poe's unexpectedly introducing her ghostly form far in the distance.
Suddenly, while Roderick is speaking, Madeline passes "slowly through a remote portion of the apartment" and disappears without ever having noticed the narrator's presence. No doctor has been able to discover the nature of her illness — it is "a settled apathy, a gradual wasting away of the person" in a "cataleptical" state; that is, Lady Madeline cannot respond to any outside stimuli.
The narrator then tells us that nevermore will he see her alive.EDGAR ALLAN POE 5 Thus speaking, Fortunato possessed himself of my arm. Putting on a mask of black silk, and drawing a roquelaire closely about my person, I suffered him to hurry me to my.
Essay The Fall Of The House Of Usher - Literary Analysis. The Fall Of the House Of Usher is a short story written by Edgar Allen Poe in The short story is complexly written, with challenging themes such as identity and fear.
Edgar Allan Poe‘s life and learn how his work influenced other writers. Premature Burial,‖ ―The Fall of the House of Usher,‖ and ―The Cask of affects the meaning and function of the texts d.
Identify and interpret . Most of the symbolism in “The Fall of the House of Usher” is internal. The House of Usher refers to both the house and the family.
The ghastly images inside the house symbolize the . "The Bells" is a heavily onomatopoeic poem by Edgar Allan Poe which was not published until after his death in It is perhaps best known for the diacopic use of the word "bells." The poem has four parts to it; each part becomes darker and darker as the poem progresses from "the jingling and the tinkling" of the bells in part 1 to the.
A Deeper Insight of “The Cask of Amontillado” Essays - A Deeper Insight of “The Cask of Amontillado” It is Edgar Allan Poe’s intense use of symbolism and irony throughout “The Cask of Amontillado” that establishes the short story as a candidate worthy of analysis.