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Essay - the Fall of the House of Usher

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Essay - the Fall of the House of Usher

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Sunday, 11/11/12

What kind of effect does Edgar Allan Poe aim for in his short story „The Fall of the House of Usher“= What matters does he use to achieve it (incl. Tone, setting, characters, conflict & plot etc.)

Edgar Allan Poe was the first writer to put the Gothic authors predilection for old and ancient nobilities and buildings in a direct causal relationship with the people. The 'House' Usher says both the gender of the Ushers as well as its headquarters building. Does one go down, so does the other. Poe sets up a sense of the "double" or the ironic reversal when he has the narrator first see the House of Usher as it is reflected in the tarn, which surrounds it. In fact, the greatness of this story lies more in the unity of design and the unity of atmosphere than it does in the plot itself. In terms of what plot there is, it is set somewhere in the past, and we find out that the narrator and Roderick Usher have been friends and schoolmates previous to the story's beginning. At the end of the story, the House of Usher will literally fall into the big black tarn and be swallowed up by it. The narrator tells twice that the windows of the house are "eyelike" and that the inside of the house has become a living "body" while the outside has become covered with moss and is decaying rapidly. Furthermore, the ultimate Fall of the House is caused by an almost invisible crack in the structure, but a crack which the narrator notices; symbolically, this is a key image. Also central to this story is the fact, that Roderick and the Lady Madeline are twins. This suggests that when he buries her, he will widen the crack between them. This crack, or division, between the living and the dead will be so critical that it will culminate ultimately in the Fall of the House of Usher. When Roderick and Madeline die, finally, the building begins to sway, probably because the lake is now breaking into the catacombs. Philip hastily took to his heels, when he sees that the crack in the...

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