Fall Of The House Of Usher

1237 words - 5 pages

What do our two characters have in common but the simple fact that they are

loosing their minds. In the “Fall of the House of Usher” Poe tells the story of an

individual deeply plagued by a dieing sister and a long line of family mishaps. He is a

prisoner within his own mind, with no possibility of escape. As with “The Yellow

Wallpaper” Gilman tells of a woman deeply plagued by her own mind. She is drawn into

a reality of her own where she is the only one that can free herself. In being prisoners

these two main characters share a common theme and a sense of symbolism in the way

that they live and go about each day. The story lines though very different, each tell a

unique story of impressments and the deaths of ones own mind.

Imprisonment within ones self can be a terrible tragedy. Roderick in the “Fall of

the House of Usher” is a prisoner within his own mind. He is trapped in the house

because he feels as though that is the only place he belongs. In a dialog between the

narrator and Roderick we see the proof in this, “To an anomalous species of terror I

found him a bound slave. “I shall perish,” said he, “I must perish in this deplorable folly.

Thus, thus, and not otherwise, shall I be lost. I dread the events of the future, not in

themselves, but in their results. I shudder at the thought of any, even the most trivial,

incident, which may operate upon this intolerable agitation of soul”” (Poe 235). As with

the narrator in “The Yellow Wallpaper”, we see that she is a prisoner within her mind as

well. A small dialog between the narrator and her husband John tells us of her belief in

this very thought, “John is so pleased to see me improve! He laughed a little the other

day, and said I seemed to be flourishing in spite of my wallpaper. I turned it off with a

laugh. I had no intention of telling him it was because of the wallpaper- he would make

fun of me. He might even want to take me away.” (Gilman 79). Both of our main

characters as you can see hide things, as well as feel trapped, trapped within themselves

and their surroundings.

With the theme of two characters loosing their minds, they also give us two

completely different views of why they feel the way they do. Roderick’s is slightly more

self destructive than that of the woman’s in “The Yellow Wallpaper”. His view of his

sister is “of a tenderly beloved sister” (Poe 235-36). He loves her and yet is utterly

astonished to find that she is risen and coming after him after he has buried her alive,

riding himself of her burden. The narrator notices Roderick’s manner and has a slight

thought, “There were times, indeed, when I thought his unceasingly agitated mind was

laboring with some oppressive secret, to divulge which he struggled for the necessary

courage” (Poe 241). This quote tells us that the thought of burying his sister alive is

eating away at him,...

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