Exploration of humanities: Edgar Allan Poe, “The Fall of the House of Usher”

Subject: Famous Person
Type: Synthesis Essay
Pages: 3
Word count: 932
Topics: Book, Edgar Allan Poe, Gothic Literature

I read the story “The Fall of the House of Usher” by Edgar Allan. The book was first published in 1839. The story starts in a way that makes me feel spooky, according to the details of the house provided. The narrator had obtained a letter from a friend, by the name Roderick Usher, regarding some illnesses. The story focuses on Roderick and his twin sister, Madeline. They are both diagnosed with various diseases, such as hyperesthesia, anxiety, and hypochondria (Poe, 1839).

Later, Madeline passes on and is kept in the tomb located in the house, awaiting the burial in 2 weeks (Poe, 1839). On one of the gloomy nights, there is a storm, and Roderick goes to the narrator’s room. Roderick becomes increasingly agitated, and the situation is worse on this stormy night. Madeline shows up at the door alive. She falls on her brother and they both land on the floor as corpses. The narrator runs from the house, and as he turns to look at the house, he sees it splitting into two. I felt great levels of emotions. I felt fear, doom, and guilt.

Edgar Allan was born in the state of Massachusetts in Boston City. He started working for magazines in 1835, where he wrote short stories. He later became an editor of the Southern Literary Messenger located in Richmond. Besides this story, he had other short stories, such as “The Raven,” and “The Tell-Tale Heart.” His stories are known to have captured the imagination of the readers and also their interests, especially, his vivid description of the events, places and other activities in the stories. He was well known for the horror stories he told. He was a role model for many writers, who later became celebrated detective story writers. His work, such as “This Story” has a lot of mysteries, and thus, many modern writers learned from most of his work.

“The Fall of the House of Usher” was inspired by activities that took place during the life of the writer, right from the time he was born to his adult life. Some crucial events happened in the Hezekiah Usher House, which was located in the Usher Estate. It was constructed in 1684 and torn down in 1830. Areas well some stories tell that there was a young woman, who was married to an old man, who owned the house. The young lady was found by the husband with a sailor. Their bodies were found in one of the cellars as the house was torn down. The other symbolical story in the book originates from a couple by the name Mr. and Mrs. Luke Usher. The couple and Poe’s mother were close friends. The couple took care of Poe, as well as, two siblings when their mom was sick and later after the death of Eliza Poe.

The role model and mentor to Poe was E.T.A. Hoffmann. He published a story entitled “Das Mojarat” in 1819. The story was slightly similar to this story – “The Fall of the House of Usher.” The similarities between the two stories include the breaking of the house into two. As well the owner of the house, in both stories, is Roderick. The eerie sounds in the night and the story from a story aspect are indistinguishable in both stories. Poe drew some aspects of “Das Mojarat” and made a unique story in a great way. The other story that inspired Poe is the one by Heinrich Clauren entitled “The Robbers Castle.” Similar aspects of the stories include the following: there are twins in the two stories, a sick young woman and the premature burial in the house. The work of Poe is inspired by various aspects, which include historical events, his life events and the works of other authors (Perry, Sederholm, 2009).

“The Fall of the House of Usher” by Edgar Allan Poe is an American Gothic novel. The author is considered a masterpiece in this section of literature. The short story is considered a gothic horror (Kennedy, 2001). The story presents aspects of structural symbolism, as well as dramatic irony. Some of the themes that he has used, which are common, are the integration of an unknown disease, the integration of insane characters and the resurrection of characters. The disease that affected Roderick, as well as his twin sister, is unknown (Perry, Sederholm, 2009). There are certain aspects that show that Roderick and his sister might be mad. The sister, towards the end of the story, resurrects and shows up at the door of the narrator’s room. Poe makes use of vivid pictures through the description. Poe acted as one of the origins of small stories. His stories have been acted by many authors on horror and detective genres.

Overall, I had an emotional experience as I read the story. Mainly, this is because, there are many aspects of the story that are mysterious, which includes the disease that Roderick suffers from that affects his senses and thus turns him hyperactive. The burial of the sister, while alive, according to his expectations, makes the story horrific. The story shows the decay in Usher’s family, symbolized by the death of the two siblings, as well as the collapse of the house. It is indeed a house of doom, which is explained by its state, such as the cracks in the walls and the illness that affects both siblings. This provides an environment that appears haunted. The mystery kept me hooked to the book until the time I finished it. The horror in the story kept my senses hooked.

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  1. Kennedy, J., (2001). Introduction: Poe in Our Time” collected in A Historical Guide to Edgar Allan Poe. Oxford: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-512150-3.
  2. Perry, D., & Sederholm, C. (2009). Poe, “The House of Usher,” and the American Gothic. UK: Palgrave Macmillan.
  3. Poe, E., A., (1839). “The Fall of the House of Usher.” Elements of Literature. Fifth Course. Austin: Holt, Rinehart, and Winston.
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