Characters and Setting in Poe's Fall of The House of Usher Essay

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Characters and Setting in The Fall of the House of Usher


The primary objective in “The Fall of the House of Usher” is to give the reader a sense of horror. Through the creation of elaborate imagery and dreary circumstances Poe conveys a story that elicits in the reader the dark feelings he has hoped for. In this analysis I will focus on Poe’s characters and setting, and how he structures them to produce the overall effect.


The story begins with a description of our narrator’s first impressions of the House of Usher. He has been summoned there so that he might provide comfort to his boyhood friend. The particular friend, Roderick Usher, is an eccentric character which the narrator has not seen in quite some time. The
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 The manner in which Poe uses the narrator to draw the reader in to the happenings at the House of Usher is important to the story. Throughout, the only reference to him is “I”. Poe most likely used this technique to allow the reader to place hisself or herself in the story more easily. The narrator’s personality also plays a role in this effect of drawing in the reader. Though both the house and Roderick Usher are things people would typically stay away from, the narrator seems to be intrigued by the whole situation. Throughout the passage he speaks of the wretched conditions and utterly dismal appearance of the house. Nonetheless, he decides to enter this house with a known lunatic who he has not seen in years. This parallels the emotions of the reader which Poe hopes to play on throughout his story. Those are the emotions of a morbid curiosity. Poe taps into this desire by creating a character which possesses the same morbid curiosity as that of the reader. This curiosity is coupled with a sense of fear. A sense that there exists some supernatural force which can surprise the reader at any time. The narrator deals with this aspect in the passage when he speaks of the “power” that the house possessed. This creates the illusion that the house, in addition to being freakish, is also dangerous.


The structure in the passage is typical of Poe’s storytelling in “The Fall of the House of Usher.” He begins by describing the scene

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