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The Fall of the House of Usher

The Fall of the House of Usher

by Edgar Allan Poe

Isolation Theme

This story explores a family so isolated from the rest of the world that they’ve developed their own supernatural barriers to interacting with it. The House of Usher exists in its own reality, governed by its own rules and with no interest in others. Such extreme isolation forces the family members closer and closer to each other, again to a supernatural degree, and inexplicable to any outsider.

Questions About Isolation

  1. Is the narrator sucked in to the eerie Usher word, or does he maintain his distance?
  2. How is the narrator set up as an outsider to the Usher family? How does his position as an outsider affect the way he tells the story?
  3. Are Roderick and Madeline doomed to death because of their family’s apparently cursed bloodline?

Chew on This

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

The narration is set up in such a way as to maintain distance between the readers and the Usher family. This highlights the impenetrable isolation of the story’s main characters.

Roderick and Madeline's extreme isolation from others created a situation in which their unhealthy relationship could continue unchallenged for years.

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