The Fall of the House of Usher

The House of Usher: A Window to the Soul

In “The Fall of the House of Usher,” the phantasmagoric setting Poe creates not only serves as an exquisite background for the story, but also gives the reader insight into the mystery of the characters. Through Poe’s descriptive personification, the physical state of the mansion becomes representative of the mental state of the family of Usher and its individual members, granting the reader a glimpse into their enigmatic characterization.

Throughout the story, the author gives many clues as to the meaning behind the elaborate, despondent setting, but the reader is assured of its connection with the characters by Roderick himself. The narrator tells us that Roderick felt, “an influence which some peculiarities in the mere form and substance of his family mansion, has, by dint of long sufferance, he said, obtained over his spirit,” (Poe 73). The words form and substance are used, implying that the mansion’s physicality is not the only aspect which affects Roderick. On a superficial level, the general decrepit nature of the grounds causes a despondency to come over Roderick, as it similarly does, to a lesser degree, over the narrator himself. However, there is a deeper connection here between the house and Roderick that the...

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