Setting in The Fall of the House of Usher by Edgar Allen Poe

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Setting in The Fall of the House of Usher

Dark Romanticism was very popular in 19th century America. It is literary genre that emerged from Romanticism and Transcendentalism. Tenets of Transcendentalism included finding God in nature, and seeing beyond the physical world. Dark romanticism examines the conflict between good and evil and the psychological effect of sin and guilt in the human mind. One very famous Dark Romantic writer is Edgar Allen Poe. Poe is very well known for his many poems and short stories. He is also well known for the recurring theme of death in his stories and poems. In the short story “The Fall of the House of Usher” by Edgar Allan Poe, setting is used to create the mood of the story, foreshadow future events, and to portray the characteristics of characters and show who they really are.

Edgar Allan Poe uses setting to create a melancholy and gloomy mood in the story. The story starts off with an unnamed narrator who is traveling on a “dull, dark and soundless day” (Poe 1). The story already has gloomy mood, without mention of the house of Usher. Before the narrator enters the house, he describes it as “inverted images of the gray sedge, and the ghastly tree-stems, and the vacant and eye-like windows” (Poe 2). The house of Usher looks run down, scary, and gloomy, like a haunted house. The setting in the first two pages creates this sad and scary mood throughout the rest of the story. Poe uses words such as “black, vacant, decayed, gray, gothic and sluggish” to create the atmosphere. This creates a very effective atmosphere in the entire story and the story revolves around the atmosphere in its entirety, showing that this is no ordinary house and there is evil involved.

Edgar Allan Poe uses settin...

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...uses setting in the story, “The Fall of the House of Usher” to set the overall mood of the story, to foreshadow what will happen at the end of the story, and show character traits. Poe creates a gloomy and melancholy mood in the beginning of the story and it is already known that this is no ordinary house, as it is located on the dreary tract of the country. As the narrator gets closer to the house and enters, it is evident that there will be some sort of evil involved. The crack in the wall suggests that there will be some tragic end in the story. The setting also reveals the character traits of the Ushers. The narrator sees that they have created their own world and are obsessed with death. Edgar Allan Poe uses the setting in this story to its greatest extent, creating the gloomy mood, foreshadowing the end of the story, and establish overall character traits.