Use Of Criticism In 'The Fall Of The House Of Usher' By Edgar Allan Poe

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Edgar Allan Poe is able to show that Gothic literature can be taken very seriously but also that there are many faults to the genre. He is able to expertly write serious Gothic fiction and satirical Gothic fiction, as well as a peculiar medley of the two, wherein he combines the greater parts of the two genres. The way Poe uses Gothic devices in this story can be conveyed as both serious and parodic; showing both the horror and the comedy in the Gothic writing style.
Poe shows how trivial the Gothic genre can become when overusing darkness and decay. From the moment the narrator even gets close to the House of Usher he notices that every bit of vegetation surrounding the mansion is dead and grey, and that there is a “pestilent and mystic vapor”
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The first time the narrator sees the House of Usher he sees it through a “somewhat childish experiment” in which he is “looking down within the tarn” to see the house for the first time, the narrator admits that this is purely for dramatics, and adds to the argument of “The Fall of The House of Usher” being a possible parody (Poe 5). However, Poe’s use of mirroring can also show how he is taking the story seriously . While the literal use of reflection to see the house is a bit comical, mirroring, when taken seriously, can add substantial amounts of drama to a Gothic short story; for example Poe shows the potential with the subtle mirroring of the outward appearance of the house matching the inward mentality of Roderick showing how seriously mirroring can be taken (Poe 2). When the house is compared to Roderick it is done so in many ways, the decaying outside being shown to resemble his deteriorating mentality, or, possibly, how the “fissure in the mansions stone work mirrors the split between the Usher twins,” or even how Roderick is crushed, literally and figuratively, by the end of the story by Madeline 's reveal (Hayes 90). Another subtle way that Poe uses mirroring to prove that Gothicism can be taken seriously is with Roderick and Madeline being twins, showing that the illness is linked between the two, and mirrors being referenced several time throughout…show more content…
Poe is able to easily compare the outward appearance of the house to the narrator 's mind and how “there appeared to be a wild inconsistency between its still perfect adaptation of parts, and the crumbling condition of the individual stones” showing that while he seems to be wholly sound there are parts of his mentality that are crumbling (Poe 6).
Poe, while having written many stories in the Gothic genre that were meant to be taken fully serious, understood the faults of the Gothic writing style, and was able to make use of these faults, and used them to create Gothic parodies. Mixing parodic aspects with an otherwise serious Gothic short story was a great artistic choice for Poe, showing the faults with the features still on display. Poe was also able to take from the comedy of the genre and still take hold of the serious
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