The Theme Of Premature Burial In Edgar Allan Poe

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In answering the question, the theme that I will be discussing is that of premature burial in the short stories of Edgar Allan Poe. Premature burial is a theme that appears in a number of Poe 's stories such as Berenice, The Fall of the House of Usher, Ligeia and, of course, The Premature Burial. As Wolf says, "Poe must have been virtually obsessed with the idea of being buried alive" (289).
The first of Poe 's stories I will discuss with reference to this theme is The Fall of the House of Usher. In this short story the narrator has been asked by letter to visit the home of a childhood friend, Roderick Usher, who has taken unwell, overcome by a strange illness however upon his arrival the narrator finds that there is a perfectly good explanation for his friend 's current state, " much of the peculiar gloom which thus afflicted him could be traced to a more natural and far more palpable origin—to the severe and long-continued illness—indeed to the evidently approaching dissolution—of a tenderly beloved sister" (Poe). The narrator sees just a fleeting glimpse of Madeline soon after his arrival, he is told later that evening that she has taken to her bed and death will soon be upon her. Interestingly Hustis compare Lady Madeline 's fleeting presence to the "barely perceptible fissure" that the narrator observed running from the roof down the front of The House of Usher at the beginning of the story saying "Like the fissure, Madeline Usher 's fleeting presence at this textual
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