The Fall of the House of Usher by Edgar Allan Poe

Book The Fall of the House of Usher by Edgar Allan Poe

Summary

“The Fall of the House of Usher” is a gothic and horror short story written by Edgar Allan Poe. It was first published in 1839 in Burton’s Gentleman’s Magazine and later included in the 1840 collection “Tales of the Grotesque and Arabesque.”

Review

“The Fall of the House of Usher” is a masterpiece of gothic horror. Set in a gloomy and decaying mansion, the story conveys a sense of fear and dread through exceptionally rich descriptive narration. Poe uses the metaphor of a decaying house to explore themes of madness, isolation, death, and the destructive power of fear. The tale showcases Poe’s talent for constructing an atmosphere of suspense and terror, making the reader feel equally trapped in the Usher mansion.

Synopsis

The narrator, a childhood friend of Roderick Usher, is invited to the Usher house, a mansion that seems to be in ruins. Roderick suffers from a variety of physical and mental problems, including hypersensitivity to light, sounds, smells, tastes, and the texture of objects. His twin sister, Madeline, also lives in the house and is sick with catalepsy.

Roderick confides to the narrator that he fears that the house and his own mental health are in decay. Shortly after, Madeline dies, and Roderick decides to bury her in a coffin in a tunnel of the house. Eventually, during a violent storm, Madeline emerges from the coffin and falls on her brother, causing his death by terror.

Characters

The Narrator

A former friend of Roderick Usher. He serves as the observer and relater of the strange events that occur in the Usher house.

Roderick Usher

The last male member of the ancient Usher family. He suffers from nervous disorders and fears that he and his house are doomed to decay.

Madeline Usher

Roderick’s twin sister. She suffers from catalepsy and is accidentally buried alive.

Analysis

The fall of the House of Usher represents not only the physical destruction of the mansion but also the extinction of an old family. Through this story, Poe explores the relationship between the physical environment and mental state, and how one can affect the other. The detailed descriptions of the decaying mansion reflect the mental and physical decay of the Ushers. This link between the house and its inhabitants serves to intensify the gothic and gloomy atmosphere of the story.

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Opinions

John Smith, 2023-01-17: “The Fall of the House of Usher is a magnificent example of gothic literature. Poe handles suspense masterfully.”

Mary Johnson, 2023-02-12: “It’s a story loaded with symbolism. The connection between the house and the characters creates an atmosphere of horror that is unforgettable.”

Charles Brown, 2023-03-05: “Poe shows why he is considered one of the masters of horror. This story is a disturbing and fascinating read.”

Anna Davis, 2023-04-27: “The story kept me on edge until the end. The characters are deep and the atmosphere of terror is very well constructed.”

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