Critical Evaluation Of The Fall Of The House Of Usher

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The haunting home, bleak setting, unexplained illness, and split personality are all staples of the Gothic genre, all of which can be found in “The Fall of the House of Usher.” Despite the story’s obvious Gothic influences, its obtuseness contributes to its chilling effect.

Neither the story’s time period nor its geographical setting can be determined with any degree of certainty. Poe uses traditional Gothic themes, such as stormy weather and a desolate landscape, to establish setting and time rather than more conventional narrative devices. Neither the audience nor the narrator knows why we are trapped in this eerie room.

Aside from being Roderick’s closest childhood buddy, the narrator appears to know very little about him. For example, he does not aware that Roderick has a twin sister. Both Roderick’s desire to reach out to the narrator in his moment of need and the narrator’s bizarrely dogged response are puzzling, and Poe challenges us to investigate their motivations.

Poe gives us the obvious building pieces of the Gothic narrative, but he contrasts this classic form with a plot that is unexplained, sudden, and full of unanticipated interruptions. The narrator’s initial lack of clarity on his or her reasons for visiting the house of Usher sets the stage for a story in which the line between reality and fantasy is constantly blurred.

Introduction to the writer of the fall of the house of Usher

In 1809, Boston welcomed a new resident: Edger Allan Poe. He was orphaned at an early age and placed with a foster family, where he grew to resent his foster father. Since he came from a poor family, he had to endure a difficult childhood free of any comforts. When it came to writing short stories, especially horror stories, he possessed an innate and divine aptitude.

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Poe is often regarded as the genre’s progenitor. He pioneered the genre of the detective story and became a gothic fiction master. The fate of American Romanticism rested in his hands. Short stories was how Poe referred to his book of short prose narratives, which were more often referred to as “tales” at the time.

His definition of a short story is a prose narrative that can be read in half an hour to one or two. The popularity of this type of writing has increased significantly since Poe’s time, yet it was not widely read during his lifetime. The novel was the most popular form of fiction, both with publishers and readers. Poe took it upon himself to popularise the short story form, and he succeeded. His work breathed new life into the genre. He created a timeless piece of literature by deftly blending the genres of romance and horror.

Analysis of the fall of the house of Usher

In 1839, Poe released his first book of short stories, titled “Tales of the Grotesque and the Arabesque.” The Fall of the House of Usher was included among other well-known tales. Aside from the nameless narrator, the story focuses on the Usher twins, Roderick and Madeline. Childhood buddy Roderick writes the narrator a letter, pleading for him to come see him as soon as possible since he has developed a peculiar mental ailment. Roderick inherited a creepy, haunted, and bizarre mansion from his family. All of the Ushers’ descendants end with the twins.

After taking a look at the house from the street, the narrator is scared. Poe’s talent lies in his ability to make his settings feel alive and vital to his narratives. The environments are more than mere backdrops; they play an active role, frequently being masterfully exploited to increase the stories’ chilling impact. His audience will be able to anticipate the story’s events simply by reading about his locations.

The narrator realises his friend has “acutness of senses” upon reuniting him. The narrator learns that Medaline has catalepsy and is dying. Roderick has been saddened by his thoughts of her passing. It has been years since he has ventured out of the mansion. The narrator helps out a friend by engaging him in lengthy discussions on art and music.

Roderick tells the narrator that Madeline will die soon. It is unclear whether her convulsions have caused her true death or just the appearance of death. The two males place her body in a mausoleum in the basement of the home. They are revealed to the narrator to be twins with a magical connection. Their bond is more than that of brothers and sisters. Because of the Usher family’s history of incest, this relationship has been construed as incest by certain commentators. We can never know for sure, but we do know that the pair is so emotionally intertwined that the loss of one is devastating to the survivor.

A week after her death, the narrator and his friend are unable to sleep on a rainy, chaotic night, so they read stories instead. Roderick is terrified that they have buried the Madeline alive as he hears her voice echoing from below the mansion while the narrator reads him bedtime stories. Whether or not this is true, in the next scene she emerges on the scene with blood all over her body and she kills Roderick by falling on him. Having fled the crumbling mansion, the narrator watches it fall to pieces.

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The demise of the usher dynasty is chronicled here. The Usher family’s tragic end mirrors that of the crumbling mansion, which eventually sinks into the gloomy pool. Medaline never speaks a word in the story, yet she has a profound effect on the main character, Roderick. Her brother dies as a result of the mystical bond between her and her brother. Some sceptics think that she was revived so that she could murder his sibling and join him in the hereafter.

Poe frequently uses first-person narrative in his writings. The anonymity of the narrator of this story, though, is what makes it so intriguing. We have no idea how old the storyteller is or where he is from. This is done on purpose so that readers will have an easier time relating to the storyteller. If the story is being told by a mysterious figure, the reader is more likely to pay close attention.

A feeling of dread permeates the minds of readers from the very first pages of The Fall of House of Usher. Sadness, gloom, and dread permeate the air thanks to the diction, scenery, crazed individuals, and mansion. Feelings of melancholy are evoked by the story’s detailed description of the mansion. According to Roderick, the mansion is sentinet; it can sense and manipulate its occupants.

Themes in The fall of the house of Usher

Some of the topics explored in The Fall of the House of Usher are sanity’s decline, fear, incest, the frailty of the human mind, and the like. The environment, in addition to Medaline’s death and resurrection, contributes to the atmosphere of dread. The description of the mansion is written to make the reader feel frightened. The location works wonderfully for the plot.

How death is treated in the story?

Poe also frequently uses the concept of death in his stories. Medaline’s untimely demise is shrouded in mystery. It is a mystery to determine whether or not she was actually dead when she was buried. The effects of her death on her brother’s psyche are compounded, making his existence more challenging. And with Roderick’s death at Medaline’s hands, the Usher dynasty comes to an end.

Symbols in the fall of the house of Usher

The Fall of the House of Usher
The mansion !

Poe also employs a plethora of symbols throughout the narrative. It is symbolic of the strife in the Usher family that the wall has developed a split. There is no hope for the sister’s recovery. When she passes away, the rift in the family widens and the twins go their separate ways. It is like the wall crack that widens and eventually brings down the mansion.

The mansion itself serves as a metaphor. The story’s grim depiction of the structure perfectly captures the bleakness of the twins’ current condition. There is a deteriorating landscape, and the windows look like empty eyes. Both the home and the Usher family are on the verge of collapse.

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