The Fall of The House of Usher Essay

The Fall of The House of Usher Essay

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Often times in literature the author will correlate attributes of a character or things happening to a character with physical items or even other people within the story. This provides an indication of how a character is structured and sometimes foreshadows things yet to happen in the story. In the short story “The Fall of The House of Usher,” the author, Edgar Allan Poe, establishes two distinct parallels between three characters. Roderick is paralleled with both his twin sister, Madeline, and the actual house itself. Determining the similarities between these characters can provide an interesting literary exercise.
Roderick and Madeline being twin siblings should provide enough similarities to establish a parallel in itself, but there are other indications. Both Usher siblings suffer from debilitating ailments which Poe alludes to several times throughout the story. An example of this is when Poe states of Roderick, “an anomalous species of terror I found him a bounden slave” (Poe 235). The author does this again when writing: “I dread the events of the future, not in themselves, but in their results. I shudder at the thought of any, even the most trivial, incident” (Poe 235). Finally, he writes, “He was enchained by certain superstitious impressions in regard to the dwelling which he tenanted, and whence, for many years, he had never ventured forth…” (Poe 235). The terms “bounden slave” and “enchained” in these passages hint that Roderick is unable to move from his fears and is therefore stuck. Madeline is described as having “transient affections of a partially cataleptical character” (Poe 236). This means while suffering from catatonic fits she was physically unable to move, similar in nature to Roderick’s inability to mov...


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...the narrator.
The use of parallels within literature has long provided readers with a way to delve deeper into the author’s view of a character. Roderick and Madeline Usher were so similar they in fact died at the same time from comparable health problems. The physical house Roderick lived in seemed to take on so many of the exact depressing attributes of its owner that it, too, perished upon his death. “The Fall of The House of Usher” by Edgar Allan Poe deals predominantly with hopelessness which fills the narrator with despair. Despite this hopelessness and despite the fact that every character the narrator encounters dies at the end of the story, and regardless that during his visit to the Usher House the narrator becomes somewhat depressed himself, one can glean hope that the narrator, and therefore the reader, escapes from an obviously despondent situation.

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