Gothic Components in The Fall of the House of Usher by Edgar Poe
In this work, Edgar Allen Poe employs various gothic components to create a “scary story”. The narrator received a letter from his boyhood friend, Roderick Usher to visit him because he was ill. The narrator came to visit and found a very “creepy” house. It was dark and deteriorating. The house, as described by the narrator, definitely had some supernatural elements. The events that happened in this work did not actually happen. I believe that the narrator imagined them. For example, when one person is around someone for some time they begin to be like them. Roderick Usher was very mentally ill and disturbed, this rubbed off onto the narrator, making him see things that never happened. Another reason for why the events were imagined, can be found when observing how Poe indicates it is a part of the narrator’s dream. In addition, the narrator had been so isolated in that house, so out of touch from reality, that it made him mad, yet another reason for him not being able to distinguish from what was real and what wasn’t.
Roderick Usher was a mentally ill man that had trouble seeing reality. “His voice varied rapidly from tremulous indecision (when the animal spirits seemed utterly in abeyance) to that species of energetic concision – that abrupt, weighty, unhurried, and hollow-sounding enunciation – that leaden, self-balanced and perfectly modulated guttural utterance, which may be observed in the lost drunkard, or the irreclaimable eater of opium, during the periods of his most intense excitement”. Roderick’s mood was similar to a user of opium. This rubbed off on the narrator. For example, when I am around someone who has a negative attitude towards the world and is very depressed, I begin to feel that way as well. The “madness” of Roderick rubbed off on the narrator. This caused him to think things happened when they did not. Our narrator even aided in the burial of Madeline, even though she was alive. This is a true sign of madness.
Throughout the work, Poe hinted that the story was a part of the narrator’s sub-conscience. He suggested that perhaps it was all a part of the narrator’s dream and not reality “Shaking off from my spirit what must have been a dream,” said the narrator, the events were too crazy to be real.
Once the narrator stepped foot into the House of Usher, he left society. “The whole mansion and domain there hung an atmosphere peculiar to themselves and their immediate vicinity. “The house was very isolated. The narrator may have very well gone crazy due to limited social contact. People are meant to socialize with other people. Loneliness can definitely drive a person mad to the point that they begin to see things that were never there.
In conclusion, the events that happened throughout this piece were imagined by the narrator. Some believe that the events actually happened and were not a result of the narrator’s imagination, but they would be wrong. Due to the reasons listed above, the events were just a figment of the narrator’s imagination.
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