The Fall of the House of Usher

Brief sentences in Edgar Allan Poe’s short stories “The Fall of the House of Usher” and “The Tell-Tale Heart” 12th Grade

Terror in the soul of an individual was one of the main topics in the work of 19th century American writer, poet, journalist and literary critic Edgar Allan Poe. Inspired by the English Gothic novel, he tried to depict the horrors and fears in human life. In his case, however, it was not outward places that caused these terrors; they came from the human core itself. He did not achieve this goal only by using specific, vivid vocabulary but also through the length of the sentences in which those words appeared. Reading his short stories, we may notice that the lengthy, descriptive sentences are sometimes followed by the short ones which makes the reader’s heart beat faster and his body shiver with terror. In what cases and for what other reasons do these sentences appear? A few illuminating answers are offered by examples from Poe’s short stories “The Fall of the House of Usher” and “The Tell-Tale Heart.”

Both of the selected short stories have quite a few things in common. The narrator is in each case unreliable, and we do not know much about him. “The Tell-Tale Heart” narrator’s condition resembles the condition of Roderick Usher, as they both claim to have hypersensitivity, though it may be just their imaginations at play. The...

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