Literary Elements In The Fall Of The House Of Usher

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Considered a precursor of modern psychoanalytical fiction as he carefully depicts the inner workings of the human mind - trapped in the grotesque nightmares of the irrational - Edgar Allan Poe masterfully combines literary elements and techniques such as diction, point of view, symbolism, allegory and personification adding also a series of gothic and macabre themes - death, decay, premature burial and incestuous relationships - in order to create memorable settings and imagery full of suspense, mystery and an overwhelming sense of darkness and despair. Written in 1893, Poe’s best-known fantastic novella “The Fall of the House of Usher” provides a vision upon a “world gone barren “. A tale of sickness, incestuous love between siblings,…show more content…
The decaying building is more then just a setting for the story, as it gradually develops into a full literary character. The initial description of the house bears a significant detail: “a thin crack which extends from the roof of the house, down the front of the building and into the lake”. This split mirrors not only Roderick’s distinct physical traits but can very well be seen as the beginning of his illness and sufferings. The noises, the process of disintegration of the house and the lugubrious, insufferable gloomy atmosphere alongside the stressed feeling of isolation and alienation are all phases of Roderick’s frail and fractured psyche as it slowly submerges into insanity.A truly enigmatic figure, the narrator bears no name, nor any physical traits and plays the role of an outsider, a visitor whose only apparent task seems to be that of informing the reader of the other participants in this intricate horror story. Roderick’s former schoolmate and now a guest at his mansion, the narrator acts as a mediator between the mysterious, uncanny reality of the House of Usher and the outside world. Placed inside the mind of this leading character-narrator the reader is able to observe his pattern of thought as it characteristically wavers between acceptance of the phenomena that surrounds the house and his futile attempts in trying to explain them. Although having been given ample signs and warnings (such as the perplexing scene in which he blindly agrees to help his childhood friend with the strange and undoubtedly morbid funeral of his sister), he is often too inept to put the clues together, thus making him a highly unreliable narrator.With no temporal clues, this dreary horror story takes place at the end of an imprecise and purely fictional age, during “a dull, dark, soundless day” of the allegorical season of doom, despair, tragedy and disaster -
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