I need an analysis of The Fall of the House of Usher

greenspun.com : LUSENET : The Work of Edgar Allan Poe : One Thread

I need an analysis of The Fall of the House of Usher in the areas of a synopsis of the story, an identification of characters, literary devices (?????), themes (?????), relationship to Poe's life (?????), and the characteristics of Romanticism. Most of this I can handle but the ones with question marks are the areas I don't know anything about. Help. Thanks

-- Anonymous, November 21, 1999


This story is an example of an allegory (a story in prose or verse in which characters, actions, or settings represent abstract ideas or moral qualities...thus,an allegory has 2 meanings-a literal one and a symbolic one. There are 3 main characters:Roderick, Madeline, and the house(yes, the house is a main character). Together these 3 characters represent a human being: Roderick is the mind,Madeline is the soul, and the house is the body. As you know, a person cannot survive without any one of these things. Therefore, it happens so that when Madeline and Roderick die together,and immediately afterward the house collapses. 5 Characteristics of Romanticism: 1. intuition, imagination, and emotion are superior to reason 2. poetry is superior to science 3. contemplation of the natural world is a means of discovering the truth that lies behind mere reality 4. a distrust of industry and city life and an idealization of rural life and of the wilderness 5. an interest in the more "natural" past and in the supernatural

-- Anonymous, November 21, 1999

In this story there are three main characters: Roderick, Madeline and the narrator himself, not the house. Poe wanted to refer to his life in writing this story; example: Roderick is the same character as the narrator, and so is Madeline ("twin"-sister of Roderick). Together they build one character, who is meant to be a parallel to Poe's life at that time. They all suffer from a mental disorder, just as Poe did in his life (drugs, alcohol). But in the end, only the narrator himself can escape from the mansion, he alone survives. Also as they (Roderick and the narrator) go to encoffin Madeline, the narrator notices that Madeline still may be alive, but he doesn't mention anything to Roderick, he turns away his head from the truth, as he did in his life...

This entire story is to be seen as the cry for help from Poe in his stage in life, and the best way he could "cry" was in his stories, because neither his aunt, nor his wife understood anything of his work.

-- Anonymous, November 22, 1999

In "The Fall of the House of Usher," Poe uses the life-like characteristics of a decaying house as a device for giving the house a supernatural atmosphere. For example, from the very beginning of the story, the person reading can tell that there is something unusual about the building. As the narrator comes closer the home of his friend, Roderick Usher, he refers to the house as the "melancholy House of Usher." When looking at the building he even describes the feeling he has as "a sense of insufferable gloom pervading my spirit." The windows appear to be vacant and eye-like and the narrator goes on to observe many other things. The narrator also observes the details of the house once more and finds that the house has fungi growing all over it. Throughout the story, Poe's image of the house and the objects inside serve to give a unusual atmosphere to the story. By giving inanimate objects almost life-like characteristics, he is giving the house a supernatural quality. This supernatural element serves to make Poe's The Fall of the House of Usher interesting and suspensful in his treatment of the house's effect on its residence. Roderick Usher, the head of the house, is an educated man. He comes from a wealthy family and owns quite a large library. He had once been an attractive man and the character of his face had been at all times remarkable. However, his appearance changed over time. Roderick's changed appearance was probably caused by his insanity. Roderick's insanity gets worse throughout the story. He becomes increasingly restless and weak, especially after the burial of his sister. He is not able to sleep and claims that he hears noises. He is an unbalanced man trying to maintain an balance in his life A moral allegory is a symbolic representation (allegory) of the judgement of human character or object (moral). In Poe's, "The Fall of the House of Usher," the first thing you notice being a moral allegory is the house itself. The House of Usher is almost life-like, you begin to notice how eerie and unnatural the house is. Another thing that is a moral allegory is Roderick's insanity it is said that is like the, "power of a spell." Another moral allegory is Roderick, Lady Madeline, and the house being together symbolically represented as a human being. Roderick is the mind, Lady Madeline is the soul, and the house is the body. As you know, a person cannot survive without any one of these things. Therefore, it happens so that when Madeline and Roderick die together I immediately afterwards the house collapses.

-- Anonymous, November 26, 2000

Moderation questions? read the FAQ