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Analysis

Literary Devices in The Fall of the House of Usher

Symbolism, Imagery, Allegory

You might have noticed a strange mingling of the fictional with the real in this story. Roderick’s artistic creations have a definite connection with what happens to the House of Usher. He pa...

Setting

(To be fair, this was probably less of a cliché when Poe wrote “Usher.”) Notice that we don’t know the geographical location nor a specific year when these events go down. Th...

Narrator Point of View

The narrator is nameless, which suggests that his principal job is to narrate. We don’t know much about him, and our attention is drawn instead to the strangeness going down in the House of U...

Genre

A sentient house, a dead body (or two), an underground tomb, dark and stormy nights…this is a horror tale. One of the sub-genres of Gothic fiction is “Supernatural Gothic,” in whi...

Tone

“The Fall of the House of Usher” tells a terrifying story, and the narrator is up front and center for the most bizarre parts. But it’s important to note that this tale is told in...

Writing Style

Poe’s prose is known for being a tad over-the-top, a bit melodramatically macabre. And indeed, “Usher” bears the marks of this authorial stamp. But before you condemn it for its t...

What’s Up with the Title?

There are several levels on which we can interpret this title. First is the actual, physical House of Usher, the mansion the narrator visits and the setting for the story. At the end of the story,...

What’s Up with the Epigraph?

Son coeur est un luth suspendu;Sitot qu'on le touche il resonne.– De BerangerTranslation: "His/her heart is a poised lute;as soon as it is touched, it resounds".These lines are a quote from L...

What’s Up with the Ending?

Let’s talk about the freaky scene BEFORE the ending before we talk about the actual ending. First, Madeline is back from the dead. There are several different ways to think about this reappea...

Plot Analysis

The narrator arrives at a creepy house…Much of this stage has to do with the house itself, rather than Usher or his sister. The narrator notes the house's gloomy atmosphere and seemingly supe...

Trivia

Poe's inspiration for the story may be based upon events of the Usher House, located on Boston's Lewis Wharf. As that story goes, a sailor and the young wife of the older owner were caught and ento...

Steaminess Rating

It’s possible that Poe suggests an incestuous relationship between Roderick and his sister Madeline. The argument is based on a few key pieces of info from the story. The first is the fact th...

Allusions

Pierre-Jean de Beranger, Le Refus (epigraph)Carl Gottlieb Reissiger, “Weber's Last Waltz" (16)Henry Fuseli (16)Jean-Baptiste-Louis Gresset, Vevert (21), La Chartreuse (21)Niccolò Machiav...
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