The Fall of the House of Usher

Structural Purposes and Aesthetic Sensations of the Narrator's Language of "Fall of the House of Usher" within the Opening Paragraph

The introductory paragraph of "Fall of the House of Usher" (90-91) is a sharp plunge into the deep, haunting tone of this story. The language of the narrative immediately brings the reader into the surreal and horrific world of the Ushers as the unnamed narrator describes his approach to the exterior of the House of Usher. The description is itself sensational, arousing feelings of apprehension and claustrophobia in the reader meant to both convey and support some of the story's larger themes and express a unified aesthetic feeling. And, irrespective of its particular function in this story, the passage is an example of Poe's working beliefs regarding the purpose and formation of literary art.

The most immediately striking aspect of the introductory paragraph is its bleak, haunting tone expressed in a winding manner. The very first line has the narrator spit out dreary adjectives, establishing a "dull, dark, and soundless" cloudy autumn day and placing himself in this setting alone on horseback traveling through a "dreary tract of country" towards a "melancholy" house. The building arouses "insufferable gloom" in the narrator with its "sternest natural images of the...

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