"The Fall Of The House Of Usher" By Allan Poe

943 words - 4 pages

The Fall of the House of Usher is acclaimed as one of Edgar Allan Poe's greatest works. Poeuses Symbolism and analogies in both characters and setting to tell this gothic tale of death anddownfall. He often drew apoun memory for the setting of his stories. He combines atmosphereand analogy to form the setting which provokes to the reader a sense of insufferable gloom. Toomuch of the horror has been attributed to its setting. But the setting does have a doubleimpotance, 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 theyseem one. From the first sentence to the last, the mood of desolation and impending doom neverleaves. Poe used the principal of analogy very effectively in House of Usher. Finding anidentical pattern in each the house and the family, he makes the events in the book being readcorrespond to those going on in the house. The entire opening scene is steeped in blackness andmelancholy.(Neilson, 197, Buranelli, 62)Another of Poe's writing techniques is anima. Anima is giving a character qualities of havingan animal spirit. Madeline Usher is the anima figure in the story Poe's use of symbolism in hisgothic stories is a guiding thread to his literary art. That he is not persistently a symbolist is oneof 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 orpersonal 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 lips are verythin and pale. Usher suffered from a morbid acuteness of the senses; the mostOchs 2insipid food was alone bearable; he could wear only garments of a certain texture; the odors ofall flowers were oppressive; his eyes were tortured by even the faintest light. The characters alsoshow gothic tendencies. Just as Usher simultaneously exploits and loathes his disease, he longsfor death and at the same time fears it.at the same time fears it. Roderick is himself a symbol of isolation, and of a concentration ofvitality so introverted that it utterly destroys itself. He is physicallyisolated.(Buranelli,63)Madeline Usher, Roderick's twin sister is given to trances and sleepwalking and is completelyunaware of the world surrounding her, even the visitor's presence in the family home.Madeline's cataleptic condition affects Roderick deeply. He sees her wandering about the house,her physical being, as well as her psychological being decaying daily, but he does nothing aboutit. It is Madeline, the anima figure, who has been Roderick's companion for many years, and Hehas kept alive this psychologically incestuous relationship. Madeline takes the initiative to bringan end to the negative and destructive union of souls.(Knapp,...

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