Fall of the House of Usher

“The Fall of the House of Usher” by Edgar Allen Poe is a story riddled with deeper meanings than the superficial plot line and analogies to draw. With the first read through, the story seems quite confusing in a sickly twisted sort of way, but upon further reading, it becomes clear that there are meanings hidden deep down in the plot. There are many comparisons that can be made in this story but the most obvious one would be the connection between the lives of the characters and the house in which they dwell.

Poe does a good job at purposely confusing the reader as to whether he is talking about the literal house of Usher or the metaphorical house of Usher. The literal house is described as being in rough condition, with a crack from the top of the house to the bottom. It has tarn around the outside of it and is in a general state of disrepair. As Poe describes how the literal house of usher is nearly ready to crumble, he also speaks of the metaphorical house of Usher. The metaphorical house of usher is also ready to crumble. This is because the house of Usher was inbred, leaving all of its members except two diseased.

Roderick Usher and Madeleine Usher were the only two Ushers left in the line of Ushers, and they were both very ill. Madeleine suffers from fits that render her immobile, and appearing dead. Roderick on the other hand has heightened senses and is acutely aware of every tiny last detail that is happening around him. Both Roderick and Madeleine are on the verge of death and it is only a matter of time who goes first. This can again be related to the literal house of Usher because due to the fissure running down the foundation of the house, it is only a matter of time which side collapses first.

Poe does a good job at creating a sense of claustrophobia in the house by making it seem small and difficult to navigate. He also creates a sense of mental claustrophobia within the narrator by making the narrator unable to get away from the literal and figurative house of Usher. In the end of the story, when Madeleine breaks out of her tomb and kills Roderick, this is the fall of the metaphorical house of Usher, because after this point, there are no more ushers seeing as they have both died.

As soon as the narrator flees the madhouse, this is the fall of the literal house of Usher. Immediately after the narrators departure from the house, the fissure from the top to the bottom of the house enlarges and the house literally collapses. It is clearly seen throughout Poe’s story that both the literal and figurative houses of Usher are meant to have a nearly perfect parallel plot throughout the entire story. The literal house collapses, as does the figurative, and they both collapse in the same way.

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