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Double Meaning in The Fall Of The House Of Usher by Edgar Allan Poe

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Double Meaning in The Fall Of The House Of Usher by Edgar Allan Poe

If there is one thing that is widely agreed upon in regards to Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Fall of the House of Usher” it is surely the fact that the short story is one of the greatest ever written. The very words that Poe selects and the manner in which he pieced them was nothing short of phenomenal. This however, is pretty much all that people are able to agree upon. Indeed, to almost everyone who reads it sees the story as great, but for different reasons. In a way the tale can be compared to a psychiatrist’s inkblots. While everyone may be looking at the same picture, they all see different things. What mainly gives “The Fall of the House of Usher” this quality is the double meanings and symbols Poe seems to use throughout.

We encounter such a double meaning almost immediately, the title. While it is obvious that Poe is referring to the building itself, the reader must also realize that he is more importantly referring to the Usher family. In Poe’s time, a family was often referred to as a house; for instance my family would be called the house of Gilliam. This relationship is important when reading the opening paragraph of the tale.
The first reason that the paragraph is successful is the fact that it sets the key element of the story, the tone. When reading the introduction, the narrator’s description of the house paints a crystal clear image in one’s mind of horror, dread, death, and ...

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No matter what your interpretation of “The Fall of the House of Usher” may be, it is almost impossible to deny it as one of the greatest short stories ever written. It stands as one of the many great testaments to the literary genius of Edgar Allan Poe and helps affirm his high ranking of American history.

Work Cited

Thompson, G.R. “Edgar Allan Poe.” Dictionary of Literary Biography. Vol.3. Detroit: Gale Research, 1979

Dameron, J. Lasley, and Robert D. Jacobs. “Edgar Allan Poe.”

Dictionary of Literary Biography. Vol. 59. Detroit: Gale Research, 1979

Harris, Laurie Lanzen and Sheila Fitzgerald eds. Short Story Criticism: Excerpts From
the Works of Short Fiction Writers. Vol.1. Detroit: Gale Research, 1988

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