Although my book, The Poe Consequence, features ideas borrowed more from The Tell-Tale Heart and The Pit and the Pendulum, I do utilize one very important concept concerning specific lines from one of Edgar Allan Poe’s most renowned works, “The Fall of the House of Usher.” First published in the year 1839, this remarkably horrifying Gothic tale features a dark, depressing landscape, a haunted mansion, a strange disease, and a dead body.
Like most of Poe’s stories, The Fall of the House of Usher also has an unnamed narrator, this one being a childhood friend of the main character. Although the reader isn’t given a physical description of the narrator, he plays a major role throughout the action that takes place. The other characters are the gloomy and mysterious, Roderick, and his disease-stricken sister, Madeline – the last descendants of the Usher clan.
The story exemplifies Poe’s literary identity in several ways. As you start to read the story, you’ll become acquainted with the sense of death, to a point that if you open your imagination enough, along with hearing strange scratching sounds and muffled noises, you’ll almost feel yourself rotting in the house. Yes, it is that dark, and, therefore, so wonderfully Poe. Perhaps you’ll feel trapped inside the decaying mansion, experiencing an awareness of claustrophobia as you find yourself focused on the bizarre actions of Roderick Usher until the astonishing plot twist occurs.
“There was an iciness, a sinking, a sickening of the heart…”