The Fall of the House of Usher
The Fall of the House of Usher
by Edgar Allan Poe
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The Fall of the House of Usher Theme of Identity

One interpretation of “The Fall of the House of Usher” is that it presents a dramatized interpretation of a split-personality disorder. At the least, the tale explores different aspects of identity and the ways in which those aspects might be fractioned or made distinct. Differences between the physical and the mental parts of the self are emphasized and explored in the text, as well as the way that parts of the self interact.

Questions About Identity

  1. In what ways are Roderick and Madeline similar? In what ways do they differ?
  2. What tools does Poe use to personify the house of Usher?
  3. How is Roderick’s identity linked to his mansion?

Chew on This

Try on an opinion or two, start a debate, or play the devil’s advocate.

Roderick and Madeline are one person split into two pieces.

Roderick has no identity without Madeline.

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