“The Fall of the House of Usher” is, quite literally, a story about the fall of the House of Usher. The “House of Usher” can be interpreted to mean either the literal, the House the Usher’s lives in, or it can refer to the bloodline, the House of the Usher’s (insert joke about personally belonging to the House of Godric Gryffindor here). Not only that, but to take it even more literally, when Roderick is attacked at the end of the story, he falls to the ground, which is yet another tie into the title of the story. The House of Usher does fall to the earth after the twins die, however, and that is where the true “fall” happens, as the entire Usher house – the structure and the bloodline – cease to exist. As the narrator approaches the house, his first glance of the structure is not straight at it, but instead at a puddle which reflects the house upside down. The symbolism of the reflection is reflected in the way that Roderick and Madeline are twins, but are boy vs. girl, mentally ill vs. physically ill, and dead vs. alive. Upon further inspection of the house, the narrator notes, “there appeared to be a wild inconsistency between its still perfect adaption of parts and the crumbling condition of the individual stones” (89). The House of Usher has only existed through incest, so this description could be in reference to the fact that from a distance, or as a whole, the Usher family was in fine condition, until you looked closely at the individual members and see the ailments that are crumbling the individual family members.
Another feature of the physical House of Usher is it’s claustrophobic feel. This is a representation of the claustrophobia between the twins to be their own person. They are confined to the house, and confined to each other (since they must reproduce in order to continue the blood line). She is confined by her body, through its illness that forces her to lose control of her limbs, and then she is forced into the space of the coffin, which...
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