Short Stories + Terror = Poe
American Romanticism brought a new era to America and American literature. Within literature of the Romanticism era came the development of the gothic novel. Edger Allen Poe is one of the well-known gothic authors which arose from this era. Throughout Poe’s career he wrote many short stories following one theory which he created - that every aspect of a short story should lead to one single effect. For Poe many of his stories have the single effect of terror. In Poe’s story “The Fall of the House of Usher” he creates the single effect of terror through his description of the house, the entombment of Madeline, and Madeline’s appearance at the end of the story.
At the beginning of the story, the narrator comes upon “the melancholy House of Usher”(Edgar Allen Poe 264). Immediately Poe’s description of the house sets the atmosphere for the story and begins building on Poe’s single effect of terror. “With the first glimpse of the building a sense of insufferable gloom pervaded my spirit”at the mere presence of the house the narrator is over come with sadness(264). As the narrator goes into a deeper description of the house, the reader can begin to visualize the dark and scary house with rotting trees surrounding it and old molding bricks creating its structure. “Dark draperies hung upon the wall,” shows the house’s visual appearance and atmosphere do not get any clearer within. The interior of the house compliments the house’s dark and decaying outwardly appearance. The narrator describes the house as having “many darken intricate passages”with very large sad tapestries and ebon
black floors(267). The description of the house is just one of many characteristics which create the story’s atmosphere of terror.
Madeline’s entombment is another aspect in the story which creates an atmosphere of terror. Her death sets the stage for the story’s horrifying climax (David A. Carpenter 752). Many persons at one...
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