The image of the fall : LUSENET : The Work of Edgar Allan Poe : One Thread

Hello everyone, I've been reading most of these messages, and I wanted to thank you all for the numerous explanations that I have found here... I need to write an essay about the image of the fall in poe's tales(including the house of usher, morella, ligiea, the purloined letter, the black cat...and many others...) What was Poe's conception of the fall? I can see the link between the fall of the house and the fall of Roderick Usher, but I need to be more precise and I must analyse all this in details... I would be really grateful if any of you could give me some hints! Thanks a lot.

-- Anonymous, March 28, 2004


The play on words in Usher regarding "house" with more than one meaning is also applicable to Poe's favorite symbolic season "Fall" most especially the very end, bordering on winter replete with barren lands, mist and disassociation from life. (Ulalume eg.). Being on that borderland verge and looking down(symbolically and in reality) abounds in Poe's works. A metaphysical vertigo with the "peak" of the tale being in the sudden descent("Ms. Found in a Bottle" the Pym novel where he almost falls off the cliff and other sudden shocks. His philosophical work "Eureka" describes this dissolution and collapse, the cyclical(whirlpool vortex- "Descent into the Maelstrom") end that is merely absorption into the all. Art is excited by the destructive thrill of being on the verge of doom. Again vertigo. Fate, but especially centering on the mood of that particular moment(like life) being swept powerless into the fall. Contingent on fate is the rtrap, like "The Pit and the Pendulum" which fasciinates and does not exclude the will- which nonetheless is powerless except in the ability to stave off and prolong the ultimate mystery and challenge. Usher cannot leave because of his sister who "falls" on him, beginning the implosive chain reaction of final quick collapse. As in "The City in the Sea" the fragile spell once broken is catastrophic.

All of Poe's works in essence are about the energy released on this event horizon. Who can know more? Poe gives no facile, traditional hopes about the afterlife. Facing the "fall" is his existential Muse. His last story fragment "The Lighthouse" ironically symbolizes the wild incompleteness of this perspective, obviously a tale of a loner facing the doom of his lighthouse foundation and its' future collapse. (See all Poe's works at examples in Usher should be easy. The ascent of Madeleine Usher from her tomb is the drag of the ghosts of those gone before bringing down the living (another feeling of Poe's).

-- Anonymous, March 30, 2004

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