The Fall of the House of Usher

Sonnet “X” and “The Fall of the House of Usher”

In “Sonnet X” and "The Fall of the House of Usher”, Frederick Goddard Tuckerman and Edgar Allan Poe, the respective authors, both argue that to be successful a person must have, as Richard Wilbur describes, rational and non-rational capabilities. Each work depicts a man distraught as a result of the detachment between the rational and non-rational components of his mind. The non-rational element manifests itself in a complete isolation from society and intense suffering. The narrator is obsessed with the non-rational manifestation and cannot rid his mind of it, struggling in vain to better comprehend it. Eventually, in both "Sonnet X" and "Usher", the narrator’s misunderstanding of his non-rational side leads to the destruction of that part of his mind. The narrator lives on, though not as a complete person.

"Sonnet X" shares many similarities with Poe’s “The Fall of the House of Usher”. As in “Sonnet X”, Poe delves into the human mind to investigate its rational and non-rational components. In both stories, the narrator projects a character who is a figment of his imagination in order to represent his non-rational side. In both works, this projection occurs during the rational character's...

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