Fall of the House of Usher

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What do our two characters have in common but the simple fact that they are

loosing their minds. In the “Fall of the House of Usher” Poe tells the story of an

individual deeply plagued by a dieing sister and a long line of family mishaps. He is a

prisoner within his own mind, with no possibility of escape. As with “The Yellow

Wallpaper” Gilman tells of a woman deeply plagued by her own mind. She is drawn into

a reality of her own where she is the only one that can free herself. In being prisoners

these two main characters share a common theme and a sense of symbolism in the way

that they live and go about each day. The story lines though very different, each tell a

unique story of impressments and the deaths of ones own mind.

Imprisonment within ones self can be a terrible tragedy. Roderick in the “Fall of

the House of Usher” is a prisoner within his own mind. He is trapped in the house

because he feels as though that is the only place he belongs. In a dialog between the

narrator and Roderick we see the proof in this, “To an anomalous species of terror I

found him a bound slave. “I shall perish,” said he, “I must perish in this deplorable folly.

Thus, thus, and not otherwise, shall I be lost. I dread the events of the future, not in

themselves, but in their results. I shudder at the thought of any, even the most trivial,

incident, which may operate upon this intolerable agitation of soul”” (Poe 235). As with

the narrator in “The Yellow Wallpaper”, we see that she is a prisoner within her mind as

well. A small dialog between the narrator and her husband John tells us of her belief in

this very thought, “John is so pleased to see me improve! He laughed a lit...

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...racter is vastly

different yet they both share the similar notion of imprisonment within themselves.

Roderick fights battles within his brain as to whether his actions were right, and will the

resurrection of his sister actually take place. Will she be a dead, but living ghost of who

she was? And would she come after him? Yes and yes as you could see, she did come

back and she did come after Roderick. As for the old woman, she was a steadfast woman

strong and sure of everything and it was the yellow wallpaper that finally drove her to her

insanity. Both start sane and end insane. Yet each has a completely different way of

going about it. Both Roderick and the old lady battle with their own demons inside their

heads by the end of their own stories. Each a different battle yet in the end, Insanity is but

a common factor.

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