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The Fall of the House of Usher

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The Fall of the House of Usher

Many short stories have many different ways of showing symbols. For example, in Guy De Maupassant’s short story “Paul’s Mistress”, Paul sees a fisherman pull out a fish and pulls out the innards of the fish. In the text, Paul feels like that he is going to end up the same way the fish ended, with its innards ripped out of his body. (De Maupassant, 83) This is also foreshadowed and symbolized the way that Paul was going to die. Paul committed suicide by jumping into a river and drowning, therefore the boatmen “fished” him out of the river, with the same description of a fish. Edgar Allan Poe, However, likes his symbolism to be a gloomy and very dark sense of environment around his characters.

In “The Fall of the House of Usher” by Edgar Allan Poe, is a story told by an unnamed narrator that describes events in order of which the final two members of the house of Usher, Roderick Usher and his twin sister, succumb to the horrors that all of us face: disease and death. Throughout the story, Poe likes to use many similarities between the main characters and the surroundings to convey images of what is going to happen or what has already happened with or within the characters. For example, in the first lines of the story, “During the whole of a dull, dark, and soundless day in the autumn of the year, when the clouds hung oppressively low in the heavens…”(Poe, 69) The emotion that this line emits is of sorrow and depression. This begins the story with a foreboding of danger and of the unknown. The narrator, a long time friend of Usher, even felt an “insufferable gloom” (Poe, 70) when he even saw the house!

The Usher family mansion, the proprietor was Roderick, had some interesting qualities that contribute to the “eeriness” of the story, and some links in to the lives of Roderick and his sister. The narrator describes the house as:

I had so worked upon my imagination as really to believe that about the whole mansion and domain there hung an atmosphere peculiar to themselves and their immediate vicinity: an atmosphere which had no affinity with the air of heaven, but reeked up from the decayed trees, and the gray wall, and the silent tarn: a pestilent and mystic vapor, dull sluggish […] and leaden-hued. (71)

To an even further description of the house, “the discoloration had been great…no portion of the masonry had fallen;”

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