The Fall Of The House Of Usher Essay

702 Words3 Pages
“The Fall of the House of Usher,” a gothic fiction short story written by Edgar Allan Poe, is pervaded by multiple examples of post-structuralist philosopher Jacques Derrida’s philosophy of trace. A close examination of the narrative reveals a distinct trace between incestual conception and the current condition of the Usher siblings through the physical and mental hinders which oppress them; a relationship between the occupants of the Usher estate and the trace of themselves which they inflict on the outside of it; and the traces of the author’s personal life within the storyline through the motif of live entombment.
Articulated by philosopher Jacques Derrida, the philosophy of trace identifies the relationship between the absent and the presence
…show more content…
The trace has, properly speaking, no place, for effacement belongs to the very structure of the trace. (Derrida 156)
In existing, trace becomes the mechanism by which it endures effacement; for all things which exist in the present automatically display traces of absent signifiers which may never exist, in their totality, in the present.
Riddled with Derrida’s notion of trace, “The Fall of the House of Usher” most evidently presents trace through the reverberations of genetic trace. Prior to the narrator’s visitation of the Usher estate, he describes the means by which the Usher family furthers its lineage:
I had learned . . . that the stem of the Usher race . . . had put forth, at no period, any enduring branch; in other words, that the entire family lay in the direct line of descent, and had always, with very trifling and very temporary variation, so lain. (Poe 2)
Despite the incestual means of their conception occurring in the past, resulting genetic defects oppress the Usher siblings Madeline and Roderick—both physically and mentally—well into the future. Although the narrator provides no physical description of Madeline Usher prior to her entombment, of her brother Roderick he reports deformed features in line with those of products of
Open Document