In “The Fall of the house of Usher,” Edgar Allen Poe creates suspense and fear in the reader. He also tries to convince the reader not to let fear overcome him. Poe tries to evoke suspence in the reader’s mind by using several diffenent scenes. These elements include setting, characters, plot, and theme. Poe uses setting primarily in this work to create atmosphere. The crack in the house and the dead trees imply that the house and its surroundings are not sturdy or promising. These elements indicate that a positive outcome is not expected. The thunder, strange light, and mist create a spooky feeling for the reader. The use of character provides action and suspense in the story through the characters’ dialogue and actions. Roderick, who is hypochondriac, is very depressed. He has a fearful apperance and his senses are acute. This adds curiosity and anxiety. The narrator was fairly normal until he began to imagine things and become afraid himself. Because of this, the audience gets a sense that evil is lurking. Madeline is in a cataleptic state. She appears to be very weak and pail. Finally, when she dies, she is buried in a vault inside of the mansion. In this story, the plot consists of rising events, conflict, climax, and resolution. The rising events include the parts in the story when the narrator first arrives at the house, meets Roderick, and hears about Roderick’s and Madeline’s problems. Madeline’s death and burial are part of the conflict. At this point, Roderick and the narrator begin to hear sounds throughout the house. The sounds are an omen that an evil action is about to occur. The climax is reached when Madeline comes back from the dead and she and her twin brother both die. Finally, the resolution comes when the narrator escapes from the house and turns around to watch it fall to the ground. The theme that Edgar Allen Poe is trying to convey is do not let fear take over your life because it could eventually destory you.
Poe’s Fall of The House of Usher – The House and its Inhabitants
The House and its Inhabitants
In the story “The Fall of the House of Usher”, Poe presents the history of the end of an illustrious family. As with many of Poe’s stories, setting and mood contribute greatly to the overall tale. Poe’s descriptions of the house itself as well as the inhabitants thereof invoke in the reader a feeling of gloom and terror. This can best be seen first by considering Poe’s description of the house and then comparing it to his description of its inhabitants, Roderick and Madeline Usher.
Poe uses several descriptive words in his portrayal of the house. The reader’s first impression of the house comes from a direct observation from the narrator. This unnamed narrator states, “… with the first glimpse of the building, a sense of insufferable gloom pervaded my spirit.” As the narrator continues to describe the house he uses several similarly dismal adjectives. The gloom experienced by the narrator is not limited to merely the house itself. The vegetation, which surrounds the area, is described as “a few rank sedges and … a few white trunks of decayed trees.” He emphasizes these facets of the house and its environs by restating the descriptions reflected in a “black and lurid tarn.” The narrator points out that the house seems to be in a dilapidated condition. While he claims that the house appears structurally sound, he takes time to comment upon “the crumbling condition of the individual stones.” He also emphasizes the long history of the house by stating that its features recall an “excessive antiquity.”
To of the most striking descriptions used to portray the house are those of the windows and the fissure. He describes the windows as “vacant [and] eye-like.” With this description the narrator effectively anthropomorphizes the house. Thus he almost gives the status of character to the house. The other outstanding description is that of the fissure. It is described as “a barely perceptible fissure, which [extends] from the roof of the building in front, [making] its way down the wall in a zigzag direction, until it [becomes] lost in the sullen waters of the tarn.” It is interesting to note that the narrator spends so much time describing a feature that he describes as barely perceptible.
The first of the two Ushers to be introduced to the reader is Roderick. He is first seen lying upon a couch.