Study Guide

The Fall of the House of Usher Family

By Edgar Allan Poe

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“Usher” explores a family so bizarre, so self-isolating, so removed from normalcy that their very existence has become eerie and supernatural. The bond between the featured brother and sister characters is intense and inexplicable – possibly it’s supernatural, possibly it’s incestuous. Their bond transcends even death. One interpretation of the tale is that the siblings are actually one person split in two; thus one is unable to survive without the other.

Questions About Family

  1. Roderick says that Madeline and he share a special kind of connection. What is he talking about, exactly?
  2. Roderick claims that his mansion has some sort of power over him. Does it? What is the nature of this power?
  3. What is the nature of Roderick and Madeline’s relationship? Is it supernatural?

Chew on This

Poe implies that Roderick and Madeline share an incestuous relationship.

Poe implies that Roderick and Madeline's relationship is primarily psychological and spiritual, not incestuous.

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