The Fall of the House of Usher
The Fall Of The House Of Usher By Edgar Allan Poe: The Feeling Of Scare
Have you ever been scared? It isn’t the greatest feeling in the world. But some people enjoy being scared. A transformation plays a role in stories meant to scares us by transforming in stories meant to scare us by transforming into something scary. Like in “The Fall of the House of Usher” by Edgar Allan Poe. The girl was buried alive and then transformed into a ghost. She scared usher and killed him by fear. One time i was going to the graveyard to visit my great grandpa. I was walking at night and i thought i saw my great grandpa. So I ran to him and it was him He was a ghost. I was scared he tried chasing me bc i started running from him because it was a ghost. Many things can make things even more scary by having it in a graveyard or as in “The fall of the house of usher” they were in a old big mansion and things kept happening to that point.
Many things can be scary just because of the place you are in. I don’t think i would of ran from my grandpa if he wasn’t in the sematary. Transformation plays a role in many stories meant to scare us by transforming into something. In the “fall of the house of usher” they made it seem scary even before the narrator enter the house. By putting a graveyard in the front. When he entered the house it was pitch black and you can barely see anything. The house was creaking the whole time he was in there too. When they brought her down to the place they buried here. Usher says no one really goes down there so there was a bunch of cobwebs and it was dusty. So it was a bunch of things leading into the end when she Popped out of nowhere and scared usher. The narrator was transforming throughout the story because he thought the girl was still alive. So he was paranoid the whole story. At the end he was actually scared because the girl killed usher and he had to run out of the house, the house started falling apart when he left. When there is a scary situation both the person getting and scared and the thing that scares them transform throughout the situation.
The person getting scared are mostly scared throughout the whole story. “The fall of house of usher” the girl was quiet but nice to usher but she was sick and they thought she died so they buried her. The girl probably was mad that they buried her alive so she came back and haunted them.
A Look into the Events That Influenced “The Fall of the House of Usher”
“The Fall of the House of Usher” is one of Edgar Allen Poe’s lesser known works, but not so to the point of obscurity. It deserves a spot right next to “The Raven”, or “The Tell-Tale Heart” for its masterful manipulation on the feelings of the reader. And despite that unpopularity, this book is the lesser known favorite of Poe’s works for readers of Poe, myself included. All 83 (or more) stories he wrote have this connection to the reader through the feelings of the work he pushes upon the reader. Poe was the master of the Gothic style and is often used as the reference in teaching Gothic writing. Poe’s background, the Gothic writing style of the time, and general culture of where he lived all played parts in the writing of his work, “The Fall of the House of Usher”.
Edgar Allan Poe’s life is one to be pitied. Both of his parents were traveling actors, moving constantly and unable to hold reliable jobs. His father deserted the family and left the mother with Poe, most likely due to the fact of his rampant alcoholism. Shortly after his abandonment, his mother died of tuberculosis and thus Poe was an orphan. Fortunately, Poe was taken in by the family of Joe and Francis Allan within a short time afterwards. Poe lived in a time where the average life span less than 40 and death was commonplace due to smallpox, tuberculosis, measles, cholera, and a general lack of good healthcare alongside the shortage of actual doctors. John Allen, his foster father, was at least mildly deranged. He treated Poe wonderfully half of the time, and the other half he was malicious with beatings and beratings. This plethora of death and mental illnesses plays a massive role in Poe’s later life, as he follows down the same path becoming an insufferable alcoholic and plagued with many various forms of mental ailments, as clearly displayed in the accurate accounts of such in the works that he wrote. Mostly due to these afflictions, Poe bounced around schools and became engaged. He proposed to Sarah Royster and then went to study and the University of Virginia, who’s newness lead to a very unruly atmosphere. Despite the strict moral rules based off Thomas Jefferson against tobacco, alcohol, and gambling, the disciplinary rules were incredibly lax as the students were almost entirely independent and had to physically report illegal or banned activities to the faculty. Poe’s gambling habits developed here and because of that, he lost contact with his fiancé and foster father. He left the university after a year, and from there he bounced around much like his parents, taking odd jobs and trying to make it to the next day. This fall through, and Poe enlisted in the United States Army, lying about his name and age to achieve entry. He rose through the ranks relatively easily but wanted to end his 5-year enlistment before its end date. He revealed his lies and was only allowed to discharge by a letter from his foster father, so he could attend West Point and get a proper education. Further discrepancies with Allan lead to his disownment and resulted in Poe getting court-marshalled to be able to leave the academy. He left the academy in 1831 and released more works that were funded by his fellow cadets at West Point. With these publications of his poems, he tried to live solely off that revenue, but ended up begging for money after that failure. Poe moved to Philadelphia and attempted being a full-time author again, but in stories instead of poetry. This change is what started his career that would eventually
The first page sets the scene, one that truly immerses the reader and putting them in that dark atmosphere of the House of Usher. The House of Usher is given human-esque descriptions of everything from the “ghastly tree-stems, and the vacant and eye-like structures” (Poe). Poe continues with his wonderful uses of imaginative description you will be hard pressed to find elsewhere. His further detail into the house and the surroundings not only lets you clearly picture it
The rest of the story provides this sense of unity, everything has a connection or a mirror.
Breaking Down the Features of Sonnet X and The Fall of the House of Usher
In “Sonnet X” and “The Fall of the House of Usher”, Frederick Goddard Tuckerman and Edgar Allan Poe, the respective authors, both argue that to be successful a person must have, as Richard Wilbur describes, rational and non-rational capabilities. Each work depicts a man distraught as a result of the detachment between the rational and non-rational components of his mind. The non-rational element manifests itself in a complete isolation from society and intense suffering. The narrator is obsessed with the non-rational manifestation and cannot rid his mind of it, struggling in vain to better comprehend it. Eventually, in both “Sonnet X” and “Usher”, the narrator’s misunderstanding of his non-rational side leads to the destruction of that part of his mind. The narrator lives on, though not as a complete person.
“Sonnet X” shares many similarities with Poe’s “The Fall of the House of Usher”. As in “Sonnet X”, Poe delves into the human mind to investigate its rational and non-rational components. In both stories, the narrator projects a character who is a figment of his imagination in order to represent his non-rational side. In both works, this projection occurs during the rational character’s mid-life crisis, thus suggesting that the realization of time’s passing affects the characters in such a way that they begin to neglect their non-rational identities. Because they are unable to properly interpret their non-rational counterparts, both rational characters reject them, causing the death of this piece of their identity.
“Sonnet X” is told through the perspective of a narrator observing the life of a recluse. The narrator describes a man who has completely isolated himself inside his own world, closed off from society in an “upper chamber.” This man’s life is miserable and desolate; he is trapped within it, “in a darkened house.” The narrator observes the man’s seclusion and explains that the man’s life has been riddled with hardships: “Terror and anguish were his lot to drink”. The secluded man intrigues the narrator, who empathizes with the loner and thinks about him often; he quickly becomes infatuated with the idea of him, and says “I cannot rid the thought nor hold it close.” It is implied that the narrator is not directly familiar with the man, does not know much about him, and can only “dimly dream upon that man alone”, which in turn implies the two men have little or no relationship and the narrator is observing from a distance. The narrator dreams of the man in an attempt to understand him, but can still not fathom the wretched life the man leads; indeed, the very thought of it frightens him.
Symbolically, the withdrawn man is a projection of the narrator’s mind. The two characters are components of the same person, one representing the rational portion and the other the non-rational portion. The narrator, by observing and trying to comprehend the man, represents the rational. The man he watches, who is detached from society and living alone in a world distinguished by suffering, represents the non-rational. The narrator, by dwelling on this man, is attempting to understand the non-rational aspect of his own self. Before now, he has neglected this aspect of his being throughout his life, as again suggested in the lines: “His footsteps reached ripe manhood’s brink; Terror and anguish were his lot to drink.” At this point in his life, the narrator rediscovers the non-rational part of himself, yet fails to comprehend it and is confused and unnerved by how neglected the non-rational aspect has become.
As time passes and the man ages, the rational narrator continues to misunderstand his non-rational projection. Throughout the poem, the passing of time is visible, signifying a transition through life. The narrator has reached middle age, and has thereby realized that his life is fleeting: “now though the autumn clouds must softly pass.” He senses that time is slipping away and he feels he must make an effort to progress in life and enjoy the pleasures it has to offer: “the cricket chides.” He begins to understand that, although he has reached the later stages of his life, it can still be appreciated and there is still time to live fully: “And greener than the season grows the grass.” He cannot fully move on with his life, however. His thoughts still linger upon the miserable man of his dreams, his non-rational identity. “Nor can I drop my lids nor shade my brows,/But there he stands”, he notes. He feels he cannot accept time and appreciate life until he has dealt with this persistent reminder of his dying non-rational self.
The years of mistreatment of the non-rational self reach a climax as the narrator finally realizes he has destroyed this fragment of his existence. He observes the tormented man standing at the open window of his “upper chamber”, describes him as “[standing] beside the lifted sash.” Overcome with a rush of emotion, he suddenly realizes the man is contemplating suicide, “and with a swooning heart, I think.” If this man, the non-rational piece of the narrator’s identity, dies, a piece of the narrator’s soul will die with him. The narrator describes the sloping, black shingles of the house meeting the limbs of a mountain ash: “Where the black shingles slope to meet the boughs,/And, shattered on the roof like smallest snows,/The tiny petals of the mountain ash.” The shingles, sloping downward, represent death and contrast with the living and upward-growing branches of the ash. Where life and death meet, shattered petals, cold and lifeless like snow, are scattered. These petals represent the narrator, his life shattered, as he finds himself trapped between life and death. With his non-rational element destroyed, he is no longer a whole human being.
There are many direct parallels in “Sonnet X” to Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Fall of the House of Usher.” The narrator of Poe’s story describes a journey to visit a childhood friend, Roderick Usher. The writing suggests that the narrator’s life is somewhat empty and lacking, for he can take time away from it to visit a lost friend, and he notes: “I had been passing alone…through a singularly dreary tract of country.” The ensuing situation is similar to that of “Sonnet X”, for here again the narrator obsesses over the reclusive man, interrupting his own life to think of him. Roderick Usher, a projection of the narrator’s imagination, represents the non-rational being, and his plight corresponds to that of the man in “Sonnet X.” Usher is described as suffering greatly, afflicted by “a mental disorder which oppressed him.” The narrator travels to Usher’s home to attend to his friend, and during the course of the story he tries his best to understand Usher’s condition and to sympathize with his situation – just as the narrator of “Sonnet X” strives to comprehend the man in the chamber. In both cases, the rational character is unable to understand his non-rational counterpart and is simultaneously experiencing the uncertainty of reaching middle age: “in the autumn of the year, the clouds hung oppressively low in the heavens.” This in turn causes the narrator to examine the passing of time and his own non-rational self. Finally, both stories conclude with the death of the narrator’s non-rational identity. As Usher dies, the House of Usher crumbles and is destroyed, “the deep and dank tarn [closing] sullenly and silently over the fragment of the House of Usher.” This climax is comparable to the shattered petals in “Sonnet X,” and both instances represent the permanent destruction of the narrator’s non-rational self. Both rational characters live on, although their lives will remain, from then on, forever incomplete.
Comparing and Contrasting Good and Evil Research Paper
The essay is a critical examination of how evil and good are portrayed in two literatures; Shakespeare’s The Tempest and Poe’s The Fall of the House of Usher. The Tempest is thought to have been written between 1610 and 1611. The story revolves around a remote area in which Prospero the main character is trying to ensure that together with his daughter they get back what is rightfully theirs.
Ideally the play lets the reader know that Miranda and her father were kicked out of their rightful position by Antonio, Prospero jealous brother. This leaves them stranded for 12 years and Miranda’s father is working day and night to reclaim their deserved position. Through such efforts, it is evident for the reader to clearly see through Shakespeare glasses the manner with which good and evil as themes are clearly depicted (Shakespeare par.5).
The second literature that will be used is The Fall of the House of Usher written by Poe. It is a short story of Gothic horror narrated in first person. The work was published back in 1893. In this gothic story, readers are told of the family of Usher; Roderick and his twin sister Madeline.
The two suffer from a disease which is unknown and cannot be cured. Their transgression which includes mental illness and incest are clearly brought to light by the author. To successfully accomplish this task, it would be rational to provide an understanding of the terms evil and good. In this context good will refers to that which is morally right. This means that good is that which helps and does less harm to others in the society.
On the other hand, evil is that which is not morally acceptable. It is an act of not being concern about others as well as knowingly and intentionally seeking to harm the interest as well as welfare of other human beings. It is worth to acknowledge that there is a controversy between good and evil and as suggested by other scholars hence difficult to determine whether one is evil or good (Herman 234). However, for the purposes of this paper every act will be analyzed independently.
Portrayal of good and evil in ‘The Tempest’
In the play The Tempest, Shakespeare has managed to clearly depict evil and good through characterization. It is through such characters as Prospero, Miranda, Ferdinand, Alonso, Ariel, as well as Antonio among others that the audience can see good and evil as intended by the author (Cantor 106).
In the beginning of the play readers are made to clearly understand that Prospero’s jealous brothers with the assistance of Alonso who was the King of Naples was toppled and set adrift with his daughter who was only 3 years old. This is an evil and inhuman act done to him and his daughter. The main reason that drove Antonio to do this was because of his selfish interest in gaining power to rule the people of Milan. This is shown in the following line
[Wow, is it exposition time already? Okay, kiddo, listen up: I used to be the duke of Milan, but then my asshole brother and the King of Naples put you and me on a boat and we ended up here]
On the other hand, through secretly supplying the boat used by Prospero with adequate food, water, clothing as well as books from his study room, Shakespeare manages to make readers understand that this was a good act. This was done by Gonzalo who was counselor to the King. Another act of evil is depicted when Ariel was trapped in a tree. This was the work of Sycorx who was a witch who trapped the later for his own selfish gain.
Despite his help to Ariel and teaching Caliban religion and other important things such as language, it was evil for Prospero to enslave Caliban and Ariel and later took power ad controlled the people living in the island. This is exemplified in the words said by Caliban, “You taught me language; and my profit on’t Is, I know how to curse: the red plague rid you, For learning me your language” (Cantor 71).
Similarly another act of evil is portrayed through an attempted rape where Caliban attempted to rape Miranda. Shakespeare wanted the audience to know how some evil acts are directed to certain gender. It is worth noting also that evil can be done by a group of people. The author makes the readers understand that the rebellion planned by Caliban, Stephano and Triculo failed (Graff & Phelan 49).
It is indeed difficult to establish whether it was good or evil for Prospero to raise tempest through his magic making the ship carrying his brother Antonio, Alonso, Gonzalo and two of Alonso’s brother sons to capsize. However since he did this to revenge, it was an evil act as portrayed by the author.
Shakespeare has tried to make readers hold the view that the acts of the various characters resulting to a good or evil activity is largely motivated by how every person perceives his position relative to those of other characters. Interestingly, the concept of evil and good has been successfully portrayed through the various themes in the poem. For instance, it is due to power that the readers are able to establish the motives behind the actions of Prospero and his brother Antonio (Grant 89).
Portrayal of good and evil in ‘The Fall of the House of Usher’
In this story, the author manages to bring the concept of good and evil in a completely different way when compared to the first article written by Shakespeare. Nonetheless there are instances where there seems to be some similarities. It is worth noting that Poe managed to use imagery to bring about the concept of evil (Kennedy 47).
For instance, it has been widely accepted that darkness is associated with evil things. In the beginning of the story the narrator while visiting his friend describes the surrounding and he uses the following words, “During the whole of a dull and soundless day……. When the clouds hung oppressively” (Krutch 62) this clearly depicts that there was an act previously committed that was morally wrong.
Additionally the narrator describes how the house of his childhood friend looked like; he said “I know not how it was – but, with the first glimpse of the building, a sense of insufferable gloom pervaded my spirit” (Kennedy 74) It is no doubt that Usher residence was one place that a lot of evil had taken place that even a new visitor will be met with a sad environment.
Additionally Poe manages to portray evil by making the narrator fully describe how the house of the Ushers looked like. This not only depicted the nature of evil but also its consequences; it fully destroys a family. The decaying and crumbling building symbolizes the effects of evil (Auberlen 207).
[I looked upon the scene before me – upon the mere house, and the simple landscape features of the domain – upon the bleak walls – upon the vacant eye-like windows – upon a few rank sedges – and upon a few white trunks of decayed trees – with an utter depression of soul which I can compare to no earthly sensation more properly than to the after-dream of the reveler upon opium – the bitter lapse into everyday life – the hideous dropping off of the veil.
There was iciness, a sinking, a sickening of the heart – an unredeemed dreariness of thought which no goading of the imagination could torture into aught of the sublime] (Poe par. 6).
Through the narrator and Usher Roderick the readers are made aware of incest in Usher’s family. Upon arrival of his friend, Usher makes his childhood friend understand that the illness he is suffering from is a ‘family evil’ (Walter 98).
The narrator since was a long-time family friend to the Ushers, clearly knows that the family did not allow any member to be married by other members of the society and for that reason they engaged in inbreeding. This led to a very weak blood-line of the family since the family became one and the same genetically. As a result majority of the family members died due to complications related to inbreeding leaving only Usher and his twin sister who are also suffering from a deadly disease (Corben 153).
Through Madeline, the nature and effect of evil is depicted. She also suffers from serious disease that is unknown and incurable. Madeline and Usher engaged in an intimate relationship despite the fact that they were siblings. Similarly the cries heard while the narrator was loudly reading a story to comfort Usher as well as the crumbling and submerging of Usher’s house is a symbol of evil (Poe, par. 12). This is supported by the following.
[…my brain reeled as I saw the mighty walls rushing asunder – there was a long tumultuous shouting sound like the voice of a thousand waters – and the deep and dank tarn at my feet closed sullenly and silently over the fragments of the “House of Usher] (Poe par. 40)
This is the ultimate punishment for engaging in morally unacceptable activities. It is also worth noting that through Usher, his act of prematurely burying his twin sister was morally unacceptable. Interestingly, through paintings and music, the author manages to use these tools to bring out the concept of evil and good.
Concerning morally acceptable deeds, the narrator has taken the duty of heeding his friends call. He pays Usher a visit since they were childhood friend. It is through the narrator that we see that he takes the responsibility of staying; talking and comforting Usher who was very seek. Additionally the narrator helped Usher lay the body of his sister in a tomb within the family house. From the short story it is apparent that the issue of evil outweighed good (Poe par. 3).
From the review of the two stories, The Tempest and The Fall of the House of Usher, it is evident that the theme of evil and good are clearly depicted. However the authors used different mechanisms to accomplish this. Shakespeare managed to use characters to portray good and evil.
For instance it is through the main protagonist Prospero that other characters are developed conveying the same themes. On the other hand, Poe used imagery and symbolization, painting, music and first person narration through an unnamed narrator to portray good and evil. For instance Poe uses terms such as ‘mansion of gloom’, ‘a ghastly pallor of the skin’, and ‘darkness’ among others. This makes readers understand all these are linked to evil activities.
The common ground to both the authors is with regards to theme development, where the evil and good are manifested through characters. Although the authors used different mechanisms to portray the theme of evil and good, readers are able to appreciate these classical works. From these two classical works, it is apparent that evil is bad and leads to serious consequences.
Eckhard, Auberlen. “The Tempest and the Concerns of the Restoration Court: A Study of the Enchanted Island and the Operatic Tempest”. Restoration: Studies in English Literary Culture, 1660–1700, 15.1 (1991): 71–88. Print.
Cantor, Paul. “Shakespeare’s The Tempest: The Wise Man as Hero”. Shakespeare Quarterly, 31.1 (1980): 64–75. Print.
Corben. Richard. Edgar Allan Poe: The Fall of the House of Usher and Other Tales of Terror, London: Del Rey, 2005. Print.
Graff, Gerald and Phelan, James. The Tempest: A Case Study in Critical Controversy, London: MacMillan, 2000. Print.
Grant, Patrick. The Magic of Charity: A Background to Prospero, Oxford University: Oxford University Press, 1976. Print.
Herman, Barbara. The Practice of Moral Judgment, Harvard University: Harvard University Press, 1993. Print.
Kennedy, Gerald. Introduction: Poe in Our Time, collected in A Historical Guide to Edgar Allan Poe. Oxford University: Oxford University Press, 2001. Print.
Krutch, Joseph. Edgar Allan Poe: A Study in Genius. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1926. Print.
Poe, Edgar. “The Fall of the House of Usher”. 2008. Web. <http://www.online-literature.com/poe/31/>
Shakespeare, William. “The Tempest”, 1986. Web. <http://www.pinkmonkey.com/booknotes/barrons/tempest2.asp#othr>
Walter, Evans. “The Fall of the House of Usher’ and Poe’s Theory of the Tale.” Studies in Short Fiction, 14.2 (1977): 137–44.
Evans, Walter. “The Fall of the House of Usher” and Poe’s Theory of the Tale. Essay
In this article, Walter Evans discusses the narrative style of Edgar Allan Poe and speaks about the peculiarities of such a short story as The Fall of the House of Usher. This novella occupies a distinctive place in the creative legacy of this writer, and it is included in many collections or anthologies. This literary work has always attracted a close attention of many literary critics who intend to study the literary elements and techniques used by Poe.
On the whole, Walter Evans believes that this literary work does not comply with narrative principles advocated by Poe in many of his critical articles (Evans 137). Moreover, in the author’s opinion, Poe adopts a dramatically different narrative approach which was virtually unprecedented in the nineteenth century. Thus, the readers should consider this issue in order to assess this short story.
These are the main arguments that this scholar tries to elaborate in his discussion. In his critical works, this writer lays stress on the necessity to create the “preconceived effect” by inventing or combining the so-called “incidents” that enable the author to grasp the attention of a reader and produce a specific impression on the audience (Evans 138). In this case, the word incident is used to describe various elements of the narrative that help the writer to achieve his/her goals.
This writer believed that every literary element had to be subordinated to the main effect that the author tried to produce. This method was advocated by many writers in the nineteenth century. Poe applied this approach to many of his short stories. Yet, Walter Evans believes that Poe does not use this principle while writing The Fall of the House of Usher. The scholar describes this short story as “a series of vivid and superficially disjointed images” (Evans 140).
Apart from that, in Evans Walter’s view, the narrative elements do not play an important role in this short story. There are some important events that are critical for the development of the narrative, but Edgar Poe does not pay much attention to them. For instance, one can mention the alleged death of Lady Madeline (Evans 140). Furthermore, the readers know very little about the factors that contributed to the downfall of Roderick Usher. This is the major distinctions that the scholar identifies.
Overall, in this short story, Edgar Poe uses literary elements that help him create vivid imagery. In particular, one can speak about the use of metaphors that are necessary to create striking descriptions of the house in which the main character lives (Evans 143). These descriptions produce a strong impression on the readers who want to know why this house is depicted in this way. This is why this detail should be taken into account. Additionally, these literary devices are importa
This description help readers place themselves in the position of the story-teller. Overall, Walter Evans argues that The Fall of the House of Usher can be viewed as the example of a lyric short story in which the sensations of the protagonist are more important than different elements of the plot (Evans 144).
This issue should not be disregarded because it is vital for the evaluation of this short story. This approach was later adopted by many writers in the twentieth century. In particular, it is possible to mention such authors as Sherwood Anderson and James Joyce.
The author’s discussion shows that Edgar Poe could depart from the aesthetic principles which he discussed in his critical reviews. However, in this way, he was able to create innovative works of literature. These are the major points that the scholar makes in this article. One can argue that this article can be of great use to people who are interested in the works of Edgar Poe.
His literary legacy is still closely examined by many critics, and his narratives are still open to various interpretations. Furthermore, this source can help a reader understand different approaches to writing short stories. So, this information can be useful for analyzing various narratives created by other writers. More importantly, the source can help readers better appreciate fiction. These are some of the main benefits that can be distinguished.
This is why this article can be of great interest to students or even teachers. Certainly, the reading of this source may require some background knowledge. For example, one should learn more about the works of Edgar Poe and his views on literature and story-telling. Additionally, students may read various short stories written by this author. In this way, one can better understand the arguments that Walter Evans makes.
This is one of the limitations that should be considered. However, this article contains an in-depth and thought-provoking analysis of Poe’s short story, and it can show how one can examine a work of literature, especially the techniques used by the authors. This is why it should not be overlooked by the readers.
Evans, Walter. “The Fall of the House of Usher” and Poe’s Theory of the Tale.” Studies in Short Fiction 14.2 (1977): 137-144. ProQuest. Web.
The Theme of Love: “The Two Kinds,” “The fall of the house of usher,” and “Hill Like White Elephants.” Essay
The Theme of Love
There is love in the three short stories. In the “Two Kinds” there is some love between the mother (Suyuan) and daughter (Jing Mei) (Tan, 2006). In the “Hill’s Like White Elephants” by Ernest Hemingway some love abounds between the American man and the pregnant girl.
This story is about the way self-interest can ruin the love that people have nurtured for a long time. In “the fall of the house of usher” there is love between Roderick and his twin sister Madeline. The love has also been strengthened by their illnesses. This paper specifically discuses the theme of love in the three short stories. More especially, the way love is advanced or frustrated by the characters.
The “Two Kinds”
Love that is evidenced in this short story is parental love. This love is depicted in the way the mother prevails upon her daughter to succeed in her studies. This is depicted in the way her mother says, “If you work hard you can achieve your dream here in America,” she added, “of course, you could be prodigy too” (Tan, 2006, p. 132).
However, the daughter took her mothers advice literally. She responded, “You want me to be someone I’m not,” she continued, “I will never be the kind of daughter you want me to be.” “Only two daughters,” she shouted, “those who are obedient and those who can follow their mind, the only daughter who can live in this house is the obedient one” (Tan, 2006, p. 132).
In as much Jing-mei was feeling that her mother never loved her because she was dictating or forcing her to do things she did not like, their bond was strong (Tan, 2006). This is seen in the way she reacted when her mother passed on. Jing-mei started to recognize that what her mother was telling her was right.
The death of her mother functioned as an eye opener for her. In the story it indicated that “she looked back over the music that she had previously rejected and discovered something that she had never noticed” (Tan, 2006). The two songs were the “Perfectly Contented,” the “Pleading Child.” However, upon examining these songs, she realized that they were two different parts of just one song.
It is motherly love that her mother does not want her daughter to go through the sufferings such as—the misfortune of losing kids, the fear and privations of conflicts, as well as the challenges encountered when settling in a different culture (Tan, 2006). That is why her mother has taken the initiative to ensure that her daughter becomes a genius and standing tall amongst other children in America.
Apparently, from her conduct, she is not a genius. This is because geniuses have innate abilities and work only under slight guidance or supervision. As the author indicates, Jing-mei even refused to practice the piano. If she were a genius, this should have been something that would have fascinated her.
The fall of the house of usher
Love is evident in this short story (Poe, 2011). More especially is revealed in the way characters deal with situations or they way react when dealing with their spouses. In the poem “The Raven,” Poe’s love is reveled. Poe’s love for his beloved wife, Virginia, is revealed when she died.
It is indicated that Poe was traumatized by her demise. It is also indicated that her death became an everyday motif in his undertaking. This statement stresses the degree of love that the two had. In other words, it was almost inseparable and no of them could do without the other.
There is also brotherly love in this novel. There is a strong love between Roderick and his sister, Madeleine. It is indicated that Roderick “affectionately loved his sister” (p. 42). There affection is also based on the fact that they are twins. As the author puts, they have “an outstanding semblance” (p. 46). That is, they behaved in a way that someone could easily say they had one soul in two different bodies.
“Hill Like White Elephants”
This short story revolves around the theme of love and responsibility (Benson, 1990). The author has used abortion to show how much the American man loves her pregnant girlfriend named Jig. However, the love showed by the American man is selfish. That is, he does not extent it beyond his girlfriend. This is evidenced when the boyfriend says, “Ill stay with you.” He also added, “I do not want anyone else, but you” (p.161).
Basing on this utterance, it is also clear that the American man is taking advantage of the love he has for his girlfriend to convince her to have the abortion. However, the girlfriend does not actually feel the same as she loves both of them. This is evident from the way she turned him down saying, “Would you please stop talking” (p. 298). Generally, this shows that her love is not selfish and that she is the man’s superior in sensitivity, imagination and above all, capacity for love.
As it has been established in the discussion, the theme of love is espoused in the three novels. In the “Hill Like White Elephants,” both the American man and his girlfriend show love to each other but the pregnancy is threatening their peaceful affection. Their love is therefore selfish or situational.
In the “Two Kinds,” parental love dominates. The mother feels that she has the responsibility to guide her daughter to success. Her dominance of over her daughter is also threatening their affection. The daughter feels that she is not being given space to enjoy life like other kids. However, in the end, the daughter realizes that her mother was somehow right.
In the “fall of the house of usher,” is a sad story of two twins who share brotherly love. Their situation has actually brought them together more than ever. Poe also has strong love for his beloved wife, Virginia. This is evidenced when she died as it was hard for Poe to forget her both in his personal and work life.
Benson, J. (1990). New critical approaches to the short stories of Ernest Hemingway. Durham: Duke University Press.
Poe, E. (2011). The fall of the House of Usher. New York: Books of Wonder.
Tan, A. (2006). The joy luck club. New York: Penguin Books.
The Fall of the House of Usher by Edgar Allan Poe: The Role of the Narrator Essay
The role of the narrator is usually considerable and crucial for any literary work and reader’s perception of the content. With the help of the narrator, the reader gets a wonderful opportunity to become involved into the events, to evaluate the conditions from the narrator’s perspective, and to realize why the idea of the story is developed in this very way.
The Fall of the House of Usher by Edgar Allan Poe is one of the best and most captivating works, where much attention is paid to the role of the narrator and his participation in the events. In this short story, the narrator is an old friend of the main character, Roderick Usher, who decides to come to Usher’s house in order to support him and help to overcome his and his sister’s illness.
The role of the narrator of the story The Fall of the House of Usher is great indeed; his rationality and his ability to represent the events from the side of an immediate participant of the story and from the side of an observer, who notice changes in the house but still cannot comprehend the reasons of why these changes bother other characters.
As a participant. Without any doubts, Edgar Poe was one of those writers, who could create a story and make each reader being involved into its events. His narrators are unique and unpredictable, because they are able to notice each detail and pay special attention to each trifle.
From the very beginning, the narrator of The Fall of the House of Usher introduces the reader “soundless day in the autumn of the year, when the clouds hung oppressively low in the heavens” (Poe 109), where such a dark description aims to warn the reader and hint that the events will hardly cause laugh or tears.
The narrator performs the role of the participant of the story and suggests the reader to follow him and be involved into each step, breath, and look. This Poe’s decision makes this short story interesting to deal with for any reader and really remarkable in the world literature.
As a survivor and rationalist. Another significant role of the narrator in this horrific story is connected to his survival and the ability to describe the events in the Usher’s house rationally. “From that chamber, and from that mansion, I fled aghast” (Poe 128), the narrator tells. Such a fast decision of his proves that these events touch not only the body or mind, not perception of this world and own position in it.
In spite of the fact, that from the very beginning, the narrator seems to be a pure rationalist, who tries to present only rational explanations and see only rational events, and a person, who will never believe or accept some irrational things, he considerable changes his mind and tries to escape from everything, he has already got involved. Some time passes, and the narrator loses own voice of reason and admits that his fears and superstitions increase considerable.
However, the fact that the narrator is the only survivor tells that his life is not ended on this note, and he has to face many other challenges in his life; or, vice versa, he becomes trapped into the mystery of this house and his life would never be similar to the one before the event with the Usher’s house. The end of the story proves that narrator’s rationality has been lost in the madness of that house, and now, he faces numerous irrational challenges, which may influence his life considerably.
As a person, who can make mistakes. I truly believe that one more significant role of the narrators is directed to each reader in order to explain that even pure rational and smart people can make mistakes or think wrong because of numerous external factors.
From the very beginning, the reader observes the narrator as a rational, smart, and organized person, who is ready to present logical explanations to each even in his life. However, he makes a terrible mistake, when he agrees to Roderick Usher about the death of his sister and the decision to bury her alive.
Within a short period of time, the destiny of these two characters knocks to their door; it was “the lofty and enshrouded figure of the lady Madeline of Usher” (Poe 128). Such development of the events can be easily foreseen by the reader, but the narrator tries to postpone this climax as far as possible because of own rationality, and he perfectly does his job. However, the narrator is crushed by the madness of his old friend and cannot cope with all around irrationality.
All people make mistakes and suffer because of the consequences they cannot avoid; many writers try to describe this theme in their works in order to teach the reader and help him/her to improve this life. Edgar Poe’s narrator in The Fall of the House of Usher is one few characters, who may perform several roles simultaneously and do it very well that allows readers to accept this story as a significant and educative piece of writing.
To become a participant of the terrible events, to evaluate how one action may destroy several lives and the whole house, and to comprehend that some kind of mystery is somewhere near – these are that major purposes, the narrator of the story wants to achieve. The narrator’s role is really significant in The Fall of the House of Usher, and the reader should not only to worry about the destiny of the major characters but also to learn, to think, and to believe in faith and our predestination.
Poe, Edgar, A. The Fall of the House of Usher and Other Tales. New York: New American Library, Penguin Putman Inc., 1998.
The Fall of the House of Usher Essay
Poe’s The Fall of the House of Usher is a short story which makes the reader feel fear, depression and guilt from the very first page and up to the final scene.
Having read the story up to the end, it seems that Usher and his sister are the most depressive people in the house and a simple guest, Usher’s friend who arrived becomes deeply depressed too because of the general conditions and mood in the house.
However, looking at the situation from another angle, it is possible to see that depressed and gloomy atmosphere in the house is much exaggerated because of the pessimistic vision of life by the narrator personally.
Therefore, having read a story attentively, it is possible to doubt the events which took place there and try to consider the situation from another point of view.
The Poe’s The Fall of the House of Usher is a story about Usher and his family. The house is depicted as the symbol of the atmosphere and relations in the family. From the very beginning the house is shown as the place that gives “a sense of insufferable gloom” and “natural images of the desolate or terrible” (Poe, 2000, p. 1264).
The narrator sees “the blank walls… with an utter depression of soul… after-dream of the reveler upon opium” (Poe, 2000, p. 1264).
Describing the house, the protagonist sees “iciness, a sinking, a sickening of the heart”, and “barely perceptible fissure, which, extending from the roof of the building in front, made its way down the wall in a zigzag direction, until it became lost in the sullen waters of the tarn” (Poe, 2000, p. 1265).
All these descriptions create the gloomy mood before the reader gets acquainted with those who live in the house. Therefore, seeing the health problems the inhabitants of the house have, the reader takes it for granted that the atmosphere in the house is depressive.
Reading of the books, listening to the music and even watching the paintings, in a word, everything the inhabitants of the house do puts the reader to consider the whole situation as depressive because of Usher and his sister.
However, if one takes a closer reading and considers the first lines of the story, everything may be changed.
“During the whole of a dull, dark, and soundless day in the autumn of the year, when the clouds hung oppressively low in the heavens, I had been passing alone, on horseback, through a singularly dreary tract of country; and at length found myself, as the shades of evening drew on” (Poe, 2000, p. 1264) is the first part from the Poe’s The Fall of the House of Usher.
Have not seen the house, have not experienced the doom atmosphere there, the protagonist is already depressed. Therefore, this scene makes a reader doubt the events which took place in the story.
Hinzpeter (2012) makes an offer that “the first-person-narrator may have suffered from depression or some other sort of causeless melancholy from the very beginning and was therefore easily influenced by the gothic setting” (p. 10).
So, it may be concluded that the gothic setting makes the narrator discuss simple life of people who do not communicate with the outside world due to their diseases as a depressive and criminal. The events which happened in the story may be an imagination of the narrator.
However, one detail makes the reader doubt this statement, the “perceptible fissure” which is not too big at the beginning, and then the fissures are too big at the end and they cause the house fall.
Hinzpeter, K. (2012). Unreliable Narration in Poe’s ‘The Fall of the House of Usher’ – The Narrative Creation of Horror. New York: GRIN Verlag.
Poe, E. (2000). The fall of the house of Usher. In R. Bausch & R.V. Cassill (Eds.), The Norton Anthology of Short Fiction (pp. 1264-1277). New York: W. W. Norton.
Poe’s “The Fall of the House of Usher” Essay
The literary catalogue of Edgar Poe features bizarre, ghastly, and morbid works. Poe’s short stories are synonymous with gloomy themes and dark storylines. “The Fall of the House of Usher” and “The Cask of Amontillado” are some of Poe’s darkest stories.
Even when highlighting the bright aspects of life such as family and love, Poe does not abandon this dark-themed literary style. In “The Fall of the House of Usher”, Poe tells the story of a man who is visiting an old friend. The story is about the remaining two members of the Usher family.
In “The Fall of the House of Usher”, Poe portrays the Usher family as struggling to survive albeit in a gloomy manner that involves degradation, disease, and death.
“The Fall of the House of Usher” is a story that investigates the situations that surround a bizarre family. The Usher family is isolated from the rest of the population and it does not exhibit any signs of normalcy. In addition, the family’s existence has almost become a supernatural phenomenon.
Poe portrays the family as one that is surrounded by an eerie atmosphere that scares the narrator from the start. At the start of the story, the narrator is able to paint a vivid picture of the Usher’s family setting.
The narrator notes that during “the whole of a dull, dark, and soundless day in the autumn of the year, when the clouds hung oppressively low in the heavens… (he came) within view of the melancholy House of Usher” (Poe 2).
Poe’s story tells about the bond between Roderick Usher and his sister Madeline Usher. The unidentified narrator who has been called by Roderick to help diffuse the tension ends up being embroiled in the Ushers’ family affairs. The narrator is only able to survive the fall of the Usher family by running away.
To gain insight into Poe’s perspectives about family, one has to consider his family background. As a child, Poe witnessed several tragedies including losing both his parents before he was three years old. In addition to being orphaned at an early age, Poe’s brother died when he was young.
Rosalie, Poe’s younger sister suffered from a mental illness and subsequently became insane. Poe’s familial misfortunes continued when he was formally adopted by John Allan’s family. It is alleged that Poe was mistreated by his foster father when he was young.
As a young adult, Poe had to drop out from university due to his drinking and gambling. After his foster father managed to get Poe admitted to West Point University, Poe was consequently expelled. It is at this point when John Allan disowned Poe as his son. When Poe was 27, he married his first cousin who was thirteen years old at the time.
Roderick tells the narrator that he and his sister share a special kind of connection. Although this ‘special connection’ is not verified in the story, it alludes to some form of kinship. One assumption that can be made from Roderick’s claims is that he and his sister are involved in an incestuous relationship.
According to the narrator, the Usher family has been locked out from the outside world for generations. Moreover, the family did not welcome any outsiders to their house. Previously, Poe had been married to his first cousin and he was therefore privy to the dynamics of incestuous relationships.
However, instead of defending incestuous relationships the author is against these relationships. According to Poe, the doom that befalls the Usher family is closely tied to the destructive nature of incestuous relationships. When the members of the Usher family declined to allow outsiders into their house, they spelt their own doom.
The incestuous portrayal of the Usher family is Poe’s way of condemning the place of incestuous relationships in the society. The narrator does not feel at ease whenever he is at the confines of the Usher family home. Moreover, he is not able to decipher the nature of the relationship between Roderick and Madeline.
The dilapidated condition of the Usher household echoes the conditions of both Roderick and Madeline, the two surviving members of the Usher family. The family’s building exhibits visible cracks and fundamental weaknesses just like Roderick and Madeline.
In one instance, Roderick tells the narrator that the “mansion exhibits some sought of power over him” (Poe 2). The mansion symbolizes the integrity and legacy of the Usher family. Therefore, Roderick is claiming that the power of his family’s legacy has a great impact on his life.
This can be interpreted to mean that Roderick’s current state is as a result of factors that are beyond his control. The same logic can be used to understand Madeline’s state of health. At one point Roderick tells the narrator that even doctors cannot figure out Madeline’s ailment.
The mystery of Madeline’s disease prompts Roderick to bury her inside the house. By so doing, Roderick denies doctors the chance of investigating what killed her sister. However, it later emerges that Roderick’s actions were in bad faith.
The only family in this story is the Usher family. Consequently, the only family bond in the story is that of Roderick and Madeline. In a characteristic manner, Poe leaves the nature of Madeline and Roderick’s relationship as a mystery. Nevertheless, the actual nature of this relationship is the key to Poe’s portrayal of family.
While some speculate that Roderick and Madeline are in an incestuous relationship, others claim that the two are one person split into two. This latter proposition is supported by the fact that Roderick’s chances of survival wane after he buries her sister. Eventually, the two siblings’ existence comes to an end at the same time.
The relationship between Roderick and his sister can also be interpreted to be supernatural. Poe portrays the Usher family as having a relationship that is hard to define and one that borders on the supernatural. This portrayal might be the key to Poe’s core understanding of family. According to Poe, family is a complex unit that borders on the supernatural.
“The Fall of the House of Usher” is an eerie account of an isolated family. The house of Usher’s account resonates with Poe’s dark writing style. Poe portrays a family that is isolated from the rest of the world at its own peril. Even the strong bonds between the family members of the Usher family are not enough to save the family from doom.
Poe, Edgar Allan. The Fall of the House of Usher, New York, NY: Langworthy & Swift, 1903. Print.
“The Fall of the House of Usher” by Edgar Allan Poe Literature Analysis Research Paper
“The Fall of the House of Usher” is one of those novels whose grip on the readers will never get any lighter. It has stood the time test, proving that even a century later, a Gothic novel can stay just as fresh, stylish and breathtaking as it was when the book first came out. In addition, the novel seems to have become a “thing in itself,” which reveals even more to those who often revisit it. Although “The Fall of the House of Usher” is traditionally believed to be a timeless horror story and a representation of the deepest human fears, it can also be viewed both as a product of its time, i.e., the “gruesome engine” of the then jurisdiction (Spitzer 363), and an observation of a gradual descent into madness that “started first in the person of their author” (Robinson 80).
On the surface, it might seem that the famous “The Fall of the House of Usher” is nothing more than just another horror story to entertain the readers and make them feel the chills crawling down their spines. Indeed, the novel is written in Poe’s traditional manner, which was obviously growing popular at the time, and doubtlessly served its purpose, thrilling the readers into getting engaged with the plotline and sympathizing with the leading characters.
Though the plot could hardly be related to an average reader, the blurred border between the traditional Englishness and the nonsensical mystery creates an unusual effect, which makes the novel work. Because of the contrast between the realistic setting and the implications behind the plot, the novel makes one experience a rather weird sensation, which must be similar to observing something out of the ordinary in the broad daylight. Indeed, though rather gloomy, the castle with its dwellers looks as if it was carved out of the XIX century reality; likewise, the discovery that Roderick’s sister was buried alive was tragic, yet not surreal. The atmosphere that “The Fall of the House of Usher” is shot through with is, however, very mysterious, starting with the overall gloominess to Sir Roderick’s strange sensation.
It seems evident that Poem tried to create the world of thriller, thus, making the readers project their own fears onto the leading character. The first and the most evident, the picture of a “haunted house” (Spitzer, 1952, 353) must be mentioned. A common idea for a thriller, a haunted house is a generalized representation of fear; thus, Poe helps the audience relate to the leading character easier. To make the image even closer to his average reader, Poe places a secret inside the house.
From a certain angle, the fact that Sir Roderick keeps his sister’s corpse in the house can be interpreted as an attempt to hide a skeleton in a cupboard, which is typical for most people. Thus, the connection between the readers and the characters is made. The last, but definitely not the least, the scene in which the leading characters discover about the horrible death of Sir Roderick’s sister must be mentioned.
With the help of several words – not even sentences – Poe manages to make the audience feel the shock and horror of Sir Roderick, who makes the dreadful discovery: “Say, rather, the rending of her coffin, and the grating of the iron hinges of her prison, and her struggles with the coppered archway of the vault!” (Poe, 1839). With the help of this scene, Poe evokes every person’s nightmare, i.e., being buried alive. Thus, the “horror for its own sake” (Spitzer, 1952, 351) takes its toll on the audience. Portraying his deepest fears, Poe managed to make the readers stand in the leading character’s shoes and, thus, shared his fears with the audience. Hence, it can be considered that “The Fall of the House of Usher” is a psychological drama that “started first in the person of their author” (Robinson, 1961, 80).
However, the story can also be considered as a child of its era. Paying closer attention to some of the details of the story, one can easily see that Poe tried to cast the light on the “dark times” of the English judicial system, as well as on its deplorable state in general. Stressing that the gloomy settings are supposed to represent the “gruesome engine” of the XIX century jurisdiction (Spitzer, 1952, 363), Spitzer makes it clear that the specific atmosphere in the novel is supposed to represent “milieu and ambiance which were being formulated at his time” (Spitzer, 1952, 359).
However, depression and the problem of rotting moral values are not the only issues of the era touched upon in Poe’s work; the novelist also considered the problem of “sociological-deterministic ideas which were in the air in 1839” (Spitzer, 1952, 360). The idea of determinism can be traced in the novel rather easily, starting from the above-mentioned horrible death, i.e., being doomed to death in pain, to the fact that everything in the story, from the general atmosphere to the gothic look of the castle, indicated that the trouble is ahead.
That said, one must admit that “The Fall of the House of Usher” incorporated both the epitome of people’s personal fears and the XIX-century reality as the writer saw it. Making the fear of isolation in his audience go through the roof, Poe combined the dark, gloomy atmosphere of the epoch, making a witty comment about its moral corruption and decay, with the natural fears that haunt every single living being. Though people have learned to control these fears, Poe, with all his talent, makes these fears come into the open once again and go “far below meaningless horror or the simple dangers of isolation” (Robinson, 1961, 69).
Therefore, it can be considered that “The Fall of the House of Usher” is both Poe’s attempt to help the readers view the world with its ugliness through his own lens and at the same time reveal the readers his own psychological drama. Hence the thrilling duality of the “The Fall of the House of Usher” comes. On the one hand, it seems a satire of the political or, rather, judicial system of the time; on the other hand, Poe introduces the audience to the darkest corners of the narrator’s psychics, which bears a frightening resemblance with the fears of the readers.
With the help of the two new ways to view Poe’s “The Fall of the House of Usher,” one can discover a new layer of implied meanings in Poe’s novel. Still mysterious and uncharted fifteen decades after it was first published, “The Fall of the House of Usher” enthralls the readers, giving them an opportunity to escape into Poe’s world of triumphant madness.
Robinson, Arthur. “Order and Sentience in ‘The Fall of the House of Usher’.” PMLA 56.1 (1961): 68–81. Web.
Spitzer, Leo. A Reinterpretation of “The Fall of the House of Usher.” Comparative Literature 4.4 (1952): 351–363. Web.