Fall of the House of Usher Major Themes

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American Lit.
Essay 1 FD

Edgar Allen Poe’s The Fall of the House of Usher (1001-1014), is a story that is written about a person (the narrator) going to see an old friend, Roderick Usher who is sick with a condition that runs in the family. When he arrives at the house of Usher, the narrator looks upon the walls and senses gloom. For the first few weeks that he is there, he and Roderick read stories, paint, and play guitar, all efforts to cheer Roderick up. But soon Roderick’s sister has died and the mood in the house changes. Roderick decides to put her in a chamber downstairs for a few weeks so that curios doctors cannot steal her body and perform tests on it. One night during a terrible storm, Roderick goes crazy and in an effort to calm him down his friend reads to him. That’s when Roderick confesses that he has heard his sister’s cries from downstairs and believes that he has put her in her coffin while she was still living. The door was thrown open from the wind, and Roderick’s sister was standing at the door, she collapses on Roderick and both die, the friend runs out of the mansion and it collapses and the House of Usher is sunk in the lake.

Poe wrote this short story in a theme of terror. The language he uses to describe scenes throughout the story really helps the story stay with the general theme of terror. Poe starts the story out saying “During the whole of a dull, dark, and soundless day, […] when the clouds hung oppressively…”(1001), which starts putting a picture in reader’s minds of a gloomy day. The setting really makes the story scary because if someone were to write, one bright, sunny day…, then the story would not seem scary. When he starts describing the House of Usher “…the bleak walls, […] the vacant eye-like windows, […] white trunks of decayed trees” (1001) makes the house seem eerie and mysterious. Poe also describes the dungeon that they put Madeline Usher in. It was “…small, damp, and entirely without means of admission for...
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