‘The fall of the House of Usher’ is a story told by unknown narrator to the reader but it is revealed that it is Roderick’s Usher’s friend. The gothic nature of the house that belongs to Roderick’s family is seen right from when the story begins. The reader is brought up to speed by the narrator that the house is encompassed by evil spirits and the surrounding indeed complements this. A rather weird thing about the house is that, although it seems to be wearing out, it continues to remain adamantly rooted on the ground (Poe 2008 p 13). This essay will be based on the ideas and opinions about Edgar Poe’s work. The essay will lay emphasis on the importance of gothic genre in the text.
From when the story commences, the author brings into our mind a state of loneliness and neglect as seen in Usher’s house. This appears rather worrying owing to the fact that, there are some spirits associated with the house. The fact that, usher’s family is somehow cursed is clearly brought out by the vivid description of the house. The mind of the reader is prepared that, nothing good is likely to be identified with the house. In his description, the narrator observes that, there was only one crack running from the roof of the house downwards. This appears symbolic in the sense that, just like it is the only crack that exists in Usher’s house, similarly, the family associated with the house has only one member being alive in any given generation. This introduces the reader to the theme of death which is equally covered in this story.
In what appears ironic, the narrator stayed away from Usher Roderick and their childhood friendship seems to have been forgotten, yet, he is the only traceable friend he can share his loneliness and feelings of sickness (Poe 2008 p 47). It is strange that on receiving the letter, the narrator embarks on a journey to rescue his friend. In what appears hyperbolic, the narrator shocks everybody that he only comes to learn that usher had a twin sister in her last days. This appears as an overstatement yet ironic, given the circumstances. The setting on a journey to Ushers wthout a candid reason leaves the reader in suspense on the exact thing the narrator is going to do there.
The description of the house is intertwined with the fate of the characters in the story. Poe has placed his characters in a state of immobility in a dilapidated house on a neglected land. In what seems to be an intent move by the author, the condition in which the house is put limits the movement of the characters while inside (Poe 1998 p 22). In a similar manner, their fate is equally put at stake. The conditions are unbearable and contribute to the demise of Usher’s twin sister following an attack by unknown epidemic. In a similar manner, Usher’s lineage is equally closely related to the house.
The title of the story ‘The fall of the House of Usher’ means a lot than just the literal meaning as it appears. To begin with, there is the structure itself that the narrator describes as shabby and neglected. The dilapidated structure is clearly painted in the mind of the reader by the author using the narrator. Similarly, Roderick’s family was never intact and the members were always dying thus the family fell.
The author has used Usher’s house as a metaphor to pass his message to the reader. When the narrator finds himself inside the house and cannot leave, it sheds more light to the reader on just how the family is entangled by hardships. Given that the family of Roderick has no continuous lineage is clearly seen by the events that take place in the house (Poe 1998 p52). It is in this house that Madeline met her death and she was buried inside there in a bid to prevent medical experts to carry out some tests on her in their attempts to unravel what caused her death. The author deliberately causes Madeline to die when she is still very young to add weight on the unfortunate curse that befalls the family. It does not get the reader by surprise that she dies of unknown epidemic. This is surely the fall of the house of Usher.
In yet another hyperbole, the narrator reveals to the reader that he only came to notice that Roderick and Madeline were twins in the process of burying her. This ssounds rather satirical in the ears of the reader, given that, the narrator admits categorically that he was a childhood friend of Roderick. The fact that he again admits to know Roderick’s sister on the burial day is in itself satirical. The author deliberately uses the narrator to add weight on just how this family was scattered and was in a move to collapse just like the title suggests. Putting into consideration that Roderick was his childhood friend, it is expected that the sister was growing together with the brother which is not the case. It also beats logic that the narrator on receiving a letter from his friend he immediately set out on a journey to rescue him ignorantly not aware of what had befallen him.
The author in a rather strange way gives power to the dead to come back to life. This adds to the gothic genre of the text. This is exactly what happens to Madeline who keeps appearing in Roderick’s mind. When this is happening, we learn all this from the narrator who distances himself from the major characters. Roderick keeps recalling her dead twin sister (Poe 1998 p 56). The dead are given extra-ordinary powers to put pressure on those who have been left behind. Given that the death of Madeline is meant to heighten the message home that indeed the house of Usher collapsed, she keeps on coming back. This can analyzed to mean that, the house in terms of human beings collapsed and although it keeps on coming back, it simply can’t. The memory of her late sister by Roderick brings her back to life. This is probably meant to show the love he had for her. From this ordeal, the author shows that indeed love for somebody can overtake death.
To conclude, Poe has employed different literary devices to pass his message to the reader. He has managed to intertwine different events in the text to lay emphasis on his message, which he surely hammers home. From when the story commences, the author has managed to bring issues on the surface that elaborates on the title ‘The fall of the House of Usher’. The gothic nature in the text is attributed with strange things that encompass Roderick’s family.