The Single Emotional "Poeffect"

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When reviewing Nathaniel Hawthorne's Tales, Edgar Allen Poe pronounced that the short story, if skillfully written, should deliver a single preconceived effect- an effect upon which incidents be fashioned to accommodate that effect. Edgar Allen Poe was indeed a skillful writer. His short story, "The Fall of the House of Usher" is a flawless example of a story in which all elements contribute to the delivery of a single emotional effect. Poe accomplishes this by achieving a perfect tone, developing suspense and unifying stylistic elements thereby meeting his own criteria. In his pronouncement Poe also wrote that "In the whole composition there should be no word written, of which the tendency, direct or indirect, is not to the one pre-established design." Thus, in "The Fall of the House of Usher" Poe creates a perfect tone critical to the delivery of his preconceived effect. The senses of "insufferable gloom," "utter depression of soul" and " sinking, sickening of the heart" which pervade the narrator's spirit immediately establish the tone. The narrator's description of the scene as "dull," "dark," "bleak," "desolate" and "terrible" all function in communicating the tone. These concrete and denotative words ensure a clear and solid tone is conveyed to the reader thereby contributing to the overall effect of terror. The regular use or repetition of the words "dark," "gloomy" and "oppressive" in some form serves function to further define and emphasize a perfect tone. It also perceivable that Poe's choice in the narrator's role being the participant supports his intent to communicate consistent feelings; hence consistent tone. In order to strengthen his already established tone, Poe selectively uses imagery in scenes of terrible nature. The imagery created by the descriptive details of "the lofty and enshrouded figure of the lady Madeline of Usher" and the "blood upon her white robes… evidence of some bitter struggle upon every portion of her emaciated...
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