Symbolism in the Fall of the House of Usher

Topics: Edgar Allan Poe, The Fall of the House of Usher, Fiction Pages: 2 (552 words) Published: March 13, 2006
Webster describes setting as ''the way to describe the place, time, and environment in a story or play.'' But, setting can do more then that as well. Setting can create atmosphere in a story. The writer can use the setting to foreshadow events that are soon to come. It can also tell the reader what kinda of traits the characters show. Edgar Allen Poe did this three things with his story, ''The Fall of the House of Usher."

Poe used his wording of the setting to place an atmosphere in the readers head. Usher's house, the windows, the yard, all put a gloomy image in the readers mind and Poe is able to build off that to create a great story. His use of the words black, decayed, vacent help him to create the perfect atmosphere. The narrator states that the mansion had ''an atmosphere which had no affinity with the air of heaven." It wasn't clean, or beautiful, or something a reader would want to live in. It was a house that put them in a frightened mood and wondering why the house would be this way. Poe's wording when describing the setting is what creates the effective atmosphere in the story.

Another important way Poe uses setting is to foreshadow events in the story. An example of this is the mansion. The narrator notices a small crack in the house. He defines this as a crack in the building, but also in the family. This foreshadows that something is coming along to make the house and the family 'fall.' Another way foreshadowing takes place in setting is the time of year. ''The Fall of the House of Usher'' takes place in autumn. Autumn is used to symbolize that death is around the corner. This type of symbolism is also used on the night when Roderick's mind is finally on its last string. There is a storm outside, which also symbolizes that something bad is going to happen. In this story Poe used enough information to clue the reader in on what was going to happen, but not enough to give it all away.

Character traits are also displayed through the...
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