The Fall of the House of Usher is a story written by Edgar Allan Poe. The story is about a man who visits his friend, the last remaining member of the Usher family. The man finds that his friend is on the brink of madness and in order to save him, he must do something drastic. The man breaks into the home of the Ushers and finds that it is in ruins. The man also finds that his friend has passed away. The story is full of imagery and parallelism, which add to the suspense and horror of the story.
In his short story “The Fall of the House of Usher,” Edgar Allen Poe creates a suspenseful narrative with a foreboding feeling of destruction. Poe makes frequent use of literary devices, including macabre imagery and parallelism. Several distinct themes are hidden in the main character’s sickness, all of which are somewhat linked but intrinsically different. The narrator is positioned in front of Roderick Usher’s dilapidated, decaying mansion at the beginning of the tale.
The house, described by the narrator as being “haunted by illimitable shadows and Suggestions of indefinite fear”, is in itself a character in the story. The parallels between the house and its inhabitants are many. The mansion is dark, brooding, and filled with hidden secrets; much like Roderick Usher himself.
The son of the late owner of the house, Roderick is a melancholy man who has spent his life secluded in the home with only his twin sister for company. The siblings are unnaturally close and share an eerie bond which is hinted at throughout the story. The reader gets the sense that there is something deeply wrong with both of them.
This feeling is only exacerbated by Poe’s use of heavy, Gothic imagery. The shadows which stretch across the floors and walls of the mansion are symbolic of the dark secrets that the Usher family is hiding. The constant references to death and decay serve to further unnerve the reader and heighten the sense of foreboding that pervades the story.
The use of Gothic imagery and parallelism in “The Fall of the House of Usher” creates a feeling of unease and suspense which Poe uses to great effect in his short story. The theme of death and decay is ever present, hinting at the dark secrets hidden within the Usher family. The mansion itself seems to be alive, adding another layer of creepiness to an already unsettling tale. Edgar Allan Poe was a master of the macabre and “The Fall of the House of Usher” is a perfect example of his skill as a writer.
To summon his childhood friend, the arrator, to his home, he sent a letter describing only a minor ailment. The narrator grows increasingly superstitious after seeing the condition of the house. When the narrator sees his host for the first time, he describes him as being “ghoulish.” It heightens his superstition even more. The narrator tries in vain to soothe and give comfort to his buddy, but it is futile.
The narrator begins to worry about his friend’s state and decides to take him away from the house. The moment they step out of the door the house collapses, killing Roderick in the process.
One way in which Poe uses imagery throughout The Fall of the House of Usher is through parallelism. Parallelism is a literary device that creates similarity between two clauses or phrases. In The Fall of the House of Usher, Poe frequently uses parallelism to create visual images in the mind of the reader. For example, when Madeline is first introduced she is described as “a figure so ghastly, so corpse-like, so pale and cadaverous…” The use of such vivid language helps to create an image in the mind of the reader of a pale, almost lifeless woman.
Similarly, when Roderick is first introduced he is described as having “a countenance which I shall never forget.” The use of the word “forget” is significant because it highlights the importance of Roderick’s appearance and how it will stay with the narrator forever.
Another way in which Poe uses parallelism to create images is by comparing objects or scenes within the story to each other. For example, when Madeline dies she is described as being “conveyed to the tomb…in a funeral procession…such as I had never before seen.” The use of such descriptive language allows the reader to imaging the scene taking place. The procession is described as being “slow and solemn,” which creates a sense of foreboding and dread. The fact that the procession is taking place at night further adds to the eerie atmosphere.
The use of parallelism throughout The Fall of the House of Usher helps to create visual images in the mind of the reader. The use of descriptive language allows readers to see the events taking place in their minds, making them feel as if they are witnessing the events unfold firsthand. The use of parallelism also helps to create a sense of foreboding and dread, adding to the overall eerie atmosphere of the story.
Edgar Allan Poe is an expert at leveraging imagery to enhance his stories’ effects. He frequently uses the environment to represent a key element of the narrative. Furthermore, he makes effective use of nature in order to create a supernatural effect and build dread.
The Fall of the House of Usher is no different. The story opens with the narrator, who we later find out is the protagonist, traveling to the house of his boyhood friend, Roderick Usher. The house is in a desolate area and it seems to be in a state of decay. The narrator describes it as “the eye of a man alive with terror.” The windows are dark and gloomy and the whole house has an eerie feeling about it.
As the story progresses, we find out that Roderick’s wife, Madeline, is sick and that she has been for some time. The doctors don’t know what is wrong with her and they can’t seem to help her. Roderick is slowly going mad from worry. The narrator tries to reassure him, but it is no use. Madeline dies and is buried in the family crypt. Roderick is completely devastated.
A few weeks after Madeline’s death, the narrator visits Roderick and finds him to be a changed man. He seems to have lost all sense of reality. The once cheerful home is now a dark and gloomy place. The windows are boarded up and there are chains on the doors. Roderick tells the narrator that he has been hearing strange noises coming from Madeline’s tomb and he is convinced that she is not really dead. The narrator tries to talk some sense into him, but it is no use.