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The Fall of the House of Usher

The Fall of the House of Usher

  

by Edgar Allan Poe

Analysis: Writing Style

Rhythmic, Ornate

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 theatricality, take a moment to admire its nearly-poetic rhetoric. Check out “singularly dreary tract of country” in the first sentence. Read it out loud and notice the weight and length of the “y”’s in the first two words contrasted with the hard, cutting “c”’s of the second two. Or jump to the last sentence and read “the DEEP and DARK tarn at my feet closed SULLENLY and SILENTLY over the fragments of the ‘House of Usher.’” And there’s a cartload of rhetoric gems to be found in between.

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