"The Fall of the House of Usher" by Allan Poe

Essay by Casey OchsHigh School, 12th grade March 1997

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The Fall of the House of Usher is acclaimed as one of Edgar Allan Poe's greatest works. Poe

uses Symbolism and analogies in both characters and setting to tell this gothic tale of death and

downfall. He often drew apoun memory for the setting of his stories. He combines atmosphere

and analogy to form the setting which provokes to the reader a sense of insufferable gloom. Too

much of the horror has been attributed to its setting. But the setting does have a double

impotance, discriptive and symbolic. Poe introduces planlife in its most rudimentary form,

underscoring the miasmic elements in the tale. The story connects plot and setting so that they

seem one. From the first sentence to the last, the mood of desolation and impending doom never

leaves. Poe used the principal of analogy very effectively in House of Usher. Finding an

identical pattern in each the house and the family, he makes the events in the book being read

correspond to those going on in the house.

The entire opening scene is steeped in blackness and

melancholy.(Neilson, 197, Buranelli, 62)

Another of Poe's writing techniques is anima. Anima is giving a character qualities of having

an animal spirit. Madeline Usher is the anima figure in the story Poe's use of symbolism in his

gothic stories is a guiding thread to his literary art. That he is not persistently a symbolist is one

of his strengths, for it means that he only turns to symbolism when it has a distinct role to play.

His symbolism generally takes the form of allowing some object to stand for an abstraction or

personal attribute. Five persons figure into this tale, but the interest centers exclusively in one-

RoderickUsher.(Levine, 125, Buranelli 85)

Roderick, cadaverous eyes, large liquid and luminous beyond comparison. His...