David A. Carpenter, in the form of an essay, addresses Edgar Allan Poe’s short story “The Fall of the House of Usher” by interpreting themes, meanings, style, and technique within the story. His essay review contains many quotes and direct references to both Poe and “The Fall of the House of Usher;” however, Carpenter’s analysis proves itself to be inaccurate. Carpenter repeatedly writes statements of which he claims are true, but then argues contrary points. His use of “evidence” is an extension of his self-negating arguments. Based on the inescapable presence of contradictions and “evidence” that does not support his opinion, Carpenter’s essay is an inaccurate review of “The Fall of the House of Usher.”
In his essay, Carpenter writes contradictory statements and expounds upon them in the form of illogical examples and rationale. Within the first sentence of the “Themes and Meanings” section, Carpenter claims “The Fall of the House of Usher” is not a didactic story, but then follows to say that Poe communicates a “definite moral message” (Carpenter 1986). Clearly, the author of the article does not understand what qualifies a literary work to be didactic—one that contains issues of morality. He also states that the morality portrayed in Poe’s short story is an “operative universal morality that is ultimately as inescapable as the hereditary forces which determine a person’s life” (Carpenter 1986). Carpenter’s attempt to clarify his idea of the morality fails when he relates it to hereditary forces, which, in this modern age, have little impact on determining one’s life, and are certainly not inescapable. His logic is presumed an...
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... logical events, such as Madeline escaping the coffin she was nailed inside of, despite Carpenter’s previous statements that the story, because of the effect created by the writer, was successful and would not, in general, leave a reader questioning legitimacy.
Overall, Carpenter’s article leaves much to be desired. At first glance, sentences are confusing and ideas are hazy. As an author, Carpenter is not convincing of his essay’s general arguments because his statements are assumptions and are not backed up by clear evidence. Contradictions in both his arguments and elaboration reveal Carpenter’s essay addressing “The Fall of the House of Usher” to be illegitimate and inaccurate.
Carpenter, David A. Essay review. MagillOnLiterature Database [series online] 1986 9240000421. Accessed 2002 November 4.
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