Symbolisms in Edgar Allan Poe's: the Fall of the House of Usher

Topics: Edgar Allan Poe, The Fall of the House of Usher, English-language films Pages: 4 (1262 words) Published: November 21, 2010
Symbolisms in Edgar Allan Poe’s: The Fall of the House of Usher

Edgar Allan Poe’s famously titled work “The Fall of the House of Usher” is a piece of short horror fiction that effectively utilizes symbolism. There are many examples within the text where objects, incidents and imagery are effectively utilized to give meaning to the reader beyond that which is being described. In this essay, I will analyze how the state of the house, the eye-like windows, the collapse of the house, the presence of a tarn that encircles the house as well as the storm enact as symbols within the story to enhance the reader’s experience and understanding of the story. The first and most prominent symbol in the story is the house itself. Upon the main character’s arrival at the premises, the narrator offers an interesting account of its general physical state. He speaks of “bleak walls”, that the “discoloration of ages had been great”, that the “minute fungi overspread the whole exterior” of the “crumbling conditions of the individual stones”. We then discover the reason why the main character visits Roderick Usher. It is explained that he is responding to his friend’s desire for his “cheerfulness” for the “alleviation of his malady”. In short, he is asked to provide moral and emotional support to his friend who is in the midst of losing his sister who is on the cusp of succumbing to her illnesse(s). Given the state of the house, the reader may conclude that the state of the house is in direct relation to the state of health of Roderick and his sister Madeline. The presence of fungi relates to the illness suffered by Madeline when the bleak walls and discoloration refers to Roderick’s “cadaverousness of complexion”. In short, we can relate the state of the house to the degradation or decline of both Usher siblings. However, if the fungi and collapsing of individual stones is a symbol of the decline of the Usher family, the “barely perceptible fissure” relates to their mortal state....
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