Poe and "The Fall of the House of Usher"

Essay by jokggaCollege, UndergraduateA, April 2004

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Edgar Allan Poe is one of the greatest writers of short fictions. One of his most popular story is the twisted "The Fall of the House of Usher," one of his most accredited work, is a twisted story with Roderick and his twin sister Madeline, who are the last of members in the "House of Usher". Both Roderick and Madeline have contracted a strange illness that seemed to be spread in the family. Being ill himself and depressed by his sister's deteriorating condition, Roderick seeks help from his childhood companion, which appears to be the narrator in the story. That companion is about to be drawn into the mind of a madman, where fantasy becomes reality. The fact that the story is told in the first person, by that narrator, has some important effects on the reader and on the story itself.

In this story, the narrator is a character of whom we know very little, who acts like a participant or an observer.

As the story goes on, it is very easy for the reader to become the narrator. In other words, it is easy to become the "friend" of Roderick. The friend has not seen Roderick for many years, but agreed to Roderick's request and made his journey to the house. At this point, the narrator doesn't know what to expect or what could have become of his old pal. For the reader, it's quite the same thing; we don't know what kind of man is Roderick Usher. "We sat down; and for some moments, while he spoke not, I gazed upon him with a feeling half of pity, half of awe. Surely, man had never before so terribly altered, in so brief a period, as had Roderick Usher! It was with difficulty that I could...