The Fall of the House of Usher: Double Trouble Essay

The Fall of the House of Usher: Double Trouble Essay

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Edger Allan Poe’s short story “The Fall of the House of Usher” tells the Gothic and hunting story of a friend’s failed attempt to help another friend. The story’s vague start describing a deteriorating house gives an eerie feeling to the story. Soon the narrator finds himself betwixt an interesting familial dynamic of a brother and sister of the Usher family. With both siblings affected with mysterious illnesses, death soon finds the sister Madeline while Roderick Usher continues to suffer mentally. Madeline’s ghostly return after being entombed alive by her brother, and the house crumbling to the ground climatically ends the tale. From the haunted setting to the supernatural occurrences the story definitely does not lack a dull moment. Throughout the story Poe envelops the reader in a sense of fear by using certain literary techniques. In “The Fall of The House of Usher” Poe portrays various forms of doubling to terrify the reader through juxtaposition of the ordinary with the strange.
The story’s opening images show how Poe’s doubling in a reflection can alter the original view into something fearful. From the narrators first sight of the house there was “ a sense of insufferable gloom [that] pervaded [his] spirit” indicating there was a terrifying aura around this house (Poe 1553). However, the way the narrator describes the house was quite ordinary: “upon the mere house, and the simple landscape features of the domain ---upon the bleak walls --- upon the vacant eye-like windows --- upon a few rank sedges --- and upon a few white trunks of decayed trees” (1553). Even though the description is seemingly ordinary the narrator’s reaction manipulates the readers’ imagination to believe that the aura of the house is more frighten...


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...the seemingly normal. Poe took everyday occurrences juxtaposing them with the strange which turned them into something that everyone can be afraid of; a simple reflection in the water, a family member, or a work of fiction. Poe creates an unsettling idea to fear the common leaving the reader with the notion that everything around them has the potential to terrorize. When the story reaches it conclusion Poe successfully manipulated the reader’s imagination to believe that no matter what there is always something to fear. However the question arises, is Poe making a mockery of a world around him that is frightened by the littlest of things? Or does Poe truly believe that everything in the world has potential to terrorize? Even though these questions are presented, Poe still created a frightening tale by manipulating the imagination into believing the worst of anything.

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