As with many of Edgar Allan Poe's pieces, "The Fall of the House of Usher" falls within the definition of American Gothic Literature. According to Prentice Hall Literature, American Gothic Literature is characterized by a bleak or remote setting, macabre or violent incidents, characters being in psychological or physical torment, or a supernatural or otherworldly involvement (311). A story containing these attributes can result in a very frightening or morbid read. In all probability, the reason Poe's stories were written in this fashion is that his personal life was fraught with depression, internal agony, and despair. Evidently this is reflected in "The Fall of the House of Usher." Conjointly, Edgar Allan Poe's "The Fall of the House of Usher" properly displays elements of American Gothic Literature through bleak setting, macabre incidents, and supernatural presence. Many great stories contain a very fanciful setting to establish believability in the mind of the reader. The author constructs a particular setting as a motive, to create conflict, or to create a mood. A story written in the American Gothic style takes place in an outlandish, dismal location, usually to build a feeling of discomfort in the reader. Such is apparent in Edgar Allan Poe's "The Fall of the House of Usher" at the very beginning when the author describes the house, "...—but with the first glimpse of the building, a sense of insufferable gloom pervaded my spirit.... I looked upon the scene before me—upon the mere house, and the simple landscape features of the domain—upon the bleak walls—upon the vacant eye like windows—upon the few rank sedges—and upon a few white trunks of decayed trees—with an utter depression of the soul... the hideous dropping off of the veil," ("The Fall" 312-314). Words like gloom, bleak, decayed, depression, and hideous conjunctively allow the reader to paint an eerie image in the mind's eye. Poe utilizes these words to set the medium from the...
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