In the novella The Fall of the House of Usher, Edgar Allan Poe presents to his readers a story in which an unnamed narrator narrates the events as they unfolded on the day that he chose to visit his pal, Roderick Usher. Through the narrator, Poe paints a picture of a gloomy, cold compound that Roderick’s house is situated. The house itself has indications of possibility of falling soon. In the short story, Poe presents the themes of love, hate, and death.
According to Pang et al. (17), Poe uses the atmosphere to convey extensively to communicate a lot of things. The atmosphere communicates the author’s ideas, effects and have equally been used to symbolize destruction that was imminent at the beginning of the novel as indicated by the lifelessness and the dullness of the environment. The narrator says that, “I know not how it was—but, with the first glimpse of the building, a sense of insufferable gloom pervaded my spirit.” (Poe 3).
The story has three characters; the narrator of the story who had gone to see Roderick upon the latter’s request; then there is Roderick, who the author describes as sickly and pale, and then there is Roderick’s sister, called Madeline who is down with catalepsy thus can neither walk nor do anything for herself because, according to the doctors, her condition is incurable. Madeline later dies, and the narrator and Roderick decide to bury her in the family tomb just beneath the floor of the house.
In the short story, the author has used various symbols to pass his message; the description of the house, the trees and the health status of the protagonist paints a picture of an imminent death and suffering in the short story (Hiatt 6).
Hiatt, Robert. “Gothic Romance and Poe’s Authorial Intent in ‘The Fall of the House of Usher.” Thesis, Georgia State University, 2012.
Pang, Wenfang et al. “Gothicism in The Fall of the House of Usher.” Advances in Literary Study, vol.3, 2015, pp.15-20.
Edgar Allan Poe. The Fall of the House of Usher, 1839.