Pautler 1Amy PautlerMrs. BookoutENG 11231 January 2018The Fall of the House of Usher “The Fall of the House of Usher,” a short story written by Edgar Allan Poe is a dramatic allegory that can be understood in many different ways. A allegory is defined as a literary work that portrays abstract ideas in concrete ways Edgar Allan Poe’s choices concerning the plot, characters, setting, point of view, symbolism, and the theme help bring this story together and gives an overall impact to the reader that is one of a kind. This Gothic style piece of literature allows the reader to grasp the idea that fear can and will take over a person when given the opportunity. The plot of the story begins as a unnamed narrator of the story receives a letter from his boyhood friend, Roderick Usher, wishing him to visit rather quickly due to himself becoming ill.
The narrator accepts his invitation and arrives to his mansion by horseback shortly after. Immediately when the narrator arrives to Roderick Usher’s mansion he is overcome with a unnerving feeling describing it as a “dull, dark, and soundless day” with the setting, the house, described as having “bleak walls upon the vacant eye-like windows.” The words used give the reader a vivid idea that this house is not a place where good things happen.
Ignoring the initial negative connotation that the house have given the narrator he walks inside and finds Roderick Usher. Usher starts Pautler 2explaining to his friend, as he did partially in the letter, how he has started to notice differences in his mental state compared to years before. Roderick Usher also told his boyhood friend how his sister, lady Madeline, has a unusual physical disorder in which has troubled many physicians. As the story continues, lady Madeline becomes increasingly worse and eventually dies.
Usher decides that with the help of his friend they will bury his sister in a tomb under the narrator’s bedroom. Days start to past and the narrator begins to hear strange noises in the house but ignores them because he does not want fear to consume him during his stay with his ill friend. A week after lady Madeline’s death a violent storm appears that scares both of the living occupants in the house. In order to calm Roderick Usher down the narrator decides to read him “Mad Trist” of Sir Launcelot Canning. As the narrator is reading, noises are being heard by the both of them throughout the house.
The story ends and Usher admits that he believes that they actually buried his sister alive in the tomb. They look up and lady Madeline is standing by the door covered in blood. Lady Madeline charges Usher falling on top of him that ends up killing them both. The narrator consumed in fear flees the house in a hurry and shortly after looks back to witness the house crumbling down to the ground eventually disappearing. “The Fall of the House of Usher” consists of only three characters which include the unnamed narrator, Roderick Usher, and Madeline Usher. The story is told and first point of view which allows a more intimate relationship between the reader and each Pautler 3character.
The narrator is introduced into the story with little background information due to the story being told through his eyes and because his background is not necessary to understand the story. The narrator is unnamed which allows the reader to mainly focus on his selflessness actions. This man stopped his current life in order to go visit his old friend who has supposedly became ill. Once arriving to his friends house he realizes that his friend is actually a hypochondriac but stays there anyway. Roderick Usher is the narrator’s friend who has a mental disorder believed to be because he has a fear of his sister dying of her actual physical condition. Lady Madeline is Roderick Usher’s twin who is buried alive because her brother believed that she had died but really did not. The diversity of the characters allow the reader to make their own assumptions and realize why a character might act a certain way in a situation.Many objects in this short story are a symbol for something else that makes the reader find the deeper meaning that helps them understand the story as a whole.
The worsening structure and appearance of the house is a symbol for how the health of Roderick and Madeline Usher is declining quickly. Roderick feeling emotional pain for his sisters physical condition symbolizes the strong and pure connection between the two. When the house crumbles straight down it symbolizes the crumbling of the Usher family tree because Roderick and Madeline were the last two living in their family. The theme that has the most impact on the entire story is fear.
Fear controls Roderick Usher and the narrator by the end of the story. The narrator said, “I feel that the period will sooner or later arrive when I must abandon life and reason together, in Pautler 4some struggle with the grim phantasm, FEAR.” Instead of Roderick Usher acknowledging that his sister did have a physical condition that she was dealing with he completely consumed himself with the idea that she was basically already dead which led to him buring his sister alive. Allowing the unknown to exist but dealing with it in a healthy way is better than to get so wrapped around the idea that the person does not take the opportunity to enjoy the current moment.
As the story developed it was very apparent that nature has a way of doing things and affecting people that no one has the ability to stall or change. This idea that the power of nature is stronger than any person and that fear will conquer a person when a person allows it to is Edgar Allan Poe’s ultimate meaning behind his dramatic allegory. These two ideas are monumental to completing the main theme and to understanding the story through a deeper level of thinking.