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The Fall of the House of Usher

The Fall of the House of Usher

by Edgar Allan Poe

The Fall of the House of Usher Questions

Bring on the tough stuff - there’s not just one right answer.

  1. Some scholars have criticized this story for being too typically Poe, basically filled with stock stereotypical characters you can find in all his stories. See, e.g., Edgar Allan Poe: A Study in Genius by Joseph Wood Krutch. Does this seem like a reasonable critique?
  2. We don’t get too much info about the narrator himself; what effect does this have on the way we read the story?
  3. What instances of foreshadowing can you find in this tale? Start with the title…
  4. “Usher” is generally considered Poe’s best short story. What makes it so worthy of such a title?
  5. Why do people like horror stories so much? (No, seriously…why?)
  6. Poe’s narrators are often deranged murderers or crazy men…like Roderick Usher. Why do you think he chose to have a nameless, sane narrator tell this tale, rather than Usher himself? (Of course, as we posit in this guide, you could argue that Usher really does tell the tale…in disguise. See “What’s Up With the Epigraph” and “Symbols, Imagery, Allegory.”)

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