The Fall of the House of Usher

655 Words3 Pages
In the short story, “The Fall of the House of Usher” by Edgar Allen Poe, diction is extensively used to create an air of suspense. Poe’s use of diction along with symbolism contributes to establishing a mood of despair. By using symbolic comparison between the Ushers and their house, the story’s suspense builds and the characteristics of the Ushers are portrayed. Poe’s cunning tactics are evident in the way he achieves a story of both suspense and horror. In “The Fall of the House of Usher”, Poe’s use of dark, descriptive words allow him to establish an eerie mood. Poe’s unique style of writing along with his foreshadowing vocabulary is significant in creating a suspenseful gothic story. At the beginning of the short story, Poe describes the House of Usher to be “dull”, “oppressive”, and “dreary” (1265). His choice of words strongly emphasizes a mood of darkness and suspense as he builds on the horrific aspects of this daunting tale. At first glimpse, the house itself is surrounded by the feeling of “insufferable gloom”, (1265) “[t]here was an iciness, a sinking, a sickening of the heart, an unredeemed dreariness of thought [...]” (1265). The atmosphere that Poe describes in the statement above establishes a spine-chilling mood. Poe uses words such as “insufferable gloom” (1265) along with other disturbing words to stress the mood of horror. Furthermore, the house evokes suspense as it strikes the reader with curiosity as to why the building presents such a dreadful and uneasy feeling. Poe describes the house with further detail emphasizing its ghostly traits: “Dark draperies hung upon the walls. The general furniture was profuse, comfortless, antique, and tattered. Many books and musical instruments lay scattered about, but failed to give any vitality to the scene” (1267). Poe describes the house using very descriptive and daunting words contributing to the story’s depressive mood as well as its suspense. Poe also uses symbolism to represent the connection between the house and the Usher family. The description of the house itself has a shocking resemblance to that of Roderick and Madelyn Usher. Upon the main character’s arrival, Poe offers an interesting description of the building’s physical state. “The discoloration of age had been great. Minute fungi overspread the whole exterior, hanging in fine tangled web-work from the eves” (1266). Poe is able to establish an air of suspense by relating the state of the house to that of Roderick and Madelyn Usher.
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