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Allan Poe's "The Fall Of The House Of Usher", Perkins "The Yellow Wallpaper", Faulkner's "A Rose For Emily."

2452 words - 10 pages

In the 18th century, gothic literature was originally written as a response to the age of reason and the politics of England. Gothic literature containing anti-Catholic sentiments and mythical aspects, explored the tension between what is feared and what is desired. The stories were usually set in some kind of castle or old building that portrayed human decay and created an atmosphere of mystery and suspense. Frequently, one of the main characters would be some sort of damsel in distress, threatened by another male character. Edgar Allen Poe's "The Fall of the House of Usher", Charlotte Perkins "The Yellow Wallpaper", and William Faulkner's "A Rose for Emily", all use gothic elements of style in describing the exterior in order to mirror the characters inner thoughts and feelings , as the women are being surprised by the male character of the story.In Poe's "The Fall of the House of Usher," the story begins on one "...dull, dark, and soundless day in the autumn of the year...." (Poe 1) From the very beginning, the reader, as a result of Poe's imagery, is aware of a sense of death and decay. Even the narrator, Roderick's childhood companion, describes "a sense of insufferable gloom pervaded spirit" (Poe 1) as he approached the "House of Usher." The term "House of Usher" refers not only to the crumbling mansion but also to the remaining family members living within the structure, and in this case mirror the attributes of Roderick Usher. Throughout the story, many similarities link the character to the physical attributes of the gothic house. The bleak, discolored walls can be compared to the "ghastly pallor" (Poe 8) of the characters skin and the web like fungi on the wall of the house resemble his web like hair. The "wild inconsistency between" the house's "perfect adaptation of parts, and the crumbling condition of the individual stone" (Poe 5) and the inconstancy of Roderick as the narrator creates a connection between the physical state of the house and Roderick.Just as the house represents Usher, the elements within the house come to illustrate aspects of his mental condition. For example, the picture , "A small picture presented the interior of an immensely long and rectangular vault or tunnel, with low walls, smooth, white, and without interruption...and bathed the whole in a ghastly and inappropriate splendor" (Poe 17). This can be viewed as a tunnel or door into Roderick's mind, which initially seems flawless. The "very large and lofty" (Poe 7) room in which the narrator meets Usher can be viewed as a metaphor for his mind. "Windows were long, narrow, and pointed," where the windows can represent both windows into Roderick's mind and be a metaphor for his eyes which are the gateway into his soul. However as it is hard to "to reach the remoter angles of the chamber," it is hard to clearly look into the mind of a mentally ill person where "dark draperies hung upon the wall" (Poe 7) cover the secrets lying behind them. The connection between...

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