The narrator observes that the house seems to have absorbed an evil and diseased atmosphere from the decaying trees and murky ponds around it. He notes that although the house is decaying in places—individual stones are disintegrating, for example—the structure itself is fairly solid. There is only a small crack from the roof to the ground in the front of the building. He has come to the house because his friend Roderick sent him a letter earnestly requesting his company.
A tale of sickness, madness, incest, and the danger of unrestrained creativity, this is among Poe's most popular and critically-examined horror stories. The ancient, decaying House of Usher, filled with tattered furniture and tapestries and set in a gloomy, desolate locale is a rich symbolic representation of its sickly twin inhabitants, Roderick and Madeline Usher.
Besides its use of classical Gothic imagery and gruesome events—including escape from live burial—the story has a psychological element and ambiguous symbolism that have given rise to many critical readings.
This overwhelming sense of gloom continues as the narrator is brought through the dark house, past its ancient and shabby furnishings, to his host. Overcome by the change in his friend's appearance, the narrator is struck by the singular, cadaverous, ghastly appearance of Roderick Usher.
As a result, Roderick claims to have a heightened sensory acuteness, with the blandest food, the slightest touch, and the faintest sounds causing him great pain. The narrator, who was aware of the Usher family's peculiar creativity, also knew of the weakness of the family bloodline.
The ancient but inbred family had resided in the House of Usher for so long that for many of their neighbors, the house and the family had become one in the same.
During the course of this discussion, the narrator learns that Roderick has a twin sister. Also suffering from a more debilitating form of the undiagnosed and incurable illness, Madeline Usher is Roderick's only living relation. She makes a fleeting appearance, but says nothing to the narrator or her brother, and passes ghost-like on to another part of the house.
Roderick explains that his sister is far too ill for the narrator to see her, and will likely never leave her bed alive again. Disturbed by this finding, the narrator sets out to cheer his old friend. In addition to reading aloud and conversing, the narrator attempts to raise Roderick's spirits by listening to his extemporaneous musical compositions, and discussing Roderick's abstract painting.
The two spend a great deal of time together in these creative pursuits, but after her first, brief appearance, Madeline is not seen again.
Several days later, Roderick's prediction about his sister's demise comes to pass, and he asks the narrator to help him entomb Madeline in a vault deep beneath the house. Roderick wanted to preserve her corpse for a fortnight before its final interment.
The narrator was struck by this strange decision, but nevertheless helped his friend bring Madeline's body to a copper-lined vault—formerly a dungeon in ancient times—where it was placed in a coffin and closed behind a large iron door. Almost immediately, Roderick's disposition changed; he became restless, even more pale, and was racked with terror.
This senseless fear was contagious and the narrator was also overcome by a dreadful terror. About a week after Madeline's body was placed in its vault, on a particularly wild and stormy night, both the narrator and Roderick were overcome by their disquieted senses, and unable to sleep.
The narrator read aloud from an old romance to ease their spirits.A summary of “The Fall of the House of Usher” () in Edgar Allan Poe's Poe’s Short Stories. Learn exactly what happened in this chapter, scene, or section of Poe’s Short Stories and what it means.
Perfect for acing essays, tests, and quizzes, as well as for writing lesson plans. Free summary and analysis of the events in Edgar Allan Poe's The Fall of the House of Usher that won't make you snore.
We promise. The Fall of the House of Usher by Edgar Allan Poe. Home / Literature a great power over him. He hasn’t left the mansion in years.
The narrator tries to help him get his mind off all this death and gloom by. Edgar Allan Poe (/ p oʊ /; born Edgar Poe; January 19, – October 7, ) was an American writer, editor, and literary critic.
Poe is best known for his poetry and short stories, particularly his tales of mystery and the macabre. NORTH ADAMS — With its depiction of destiny and decay and undertones of debauchery, "The Fall of the House of Usher" is Edgar Allan Poe's hallucinatory fever dream of a short story.
"The Fall of the House of Usher" is a narrative short story by American writer Edgar Allan Poe, first published in in Burton's Gentleman's Magazine before being included in the collection Tales of the Grotesque and Arabesque in “The Fall of the House of Usher” is a short story written by Edgar Allan Poe in Poe is considered a master of Gothic fiction, which centers on dark and terrifying stories.