“Shaking off from my spirit what must have been a dream, I scanned more narrowly the real aspect of the building. Its principal feature seemed to be that of an excessive antiquity. The discoloration of ages had been great. Minute fungi overspread the whole exterior, hanging in a fine tangled web-work from the eaves.
Yet all this was apart from any extraordinary dilapidation. No portion of the masonry had fallen; and there appeared to be a wild inconsistency between its still perfect adaptation of parts, and the crumbling condition of the individual stones.In this there was much that reminded me of the specious totality of old wood-work which has rotted for long years in some neglected vault, with no disturbance from the breath of the external air. Beyond this indication of extensive decay, however, the fabric gave little token of instability.
Perhaps the eye of a scrutinizing observer might have discovered a barely perceptible fissure, which, extending from the roof of the building in front, made its way down the wall in a zigzag direction, until it became lost in the sullen waters of the tarn. ” (pp. 5)The Fall of the House of Usher, written by Edgar Allen Poe is more then a spooky bedtime story.
Published in 1839, it made itself famous before the Revolutionary War. This time period, often referred to as the American Renaissance, was the period during which many of the literary works most widely considered American masterpieces were produced. In the text, we get this description of the Ushers mansion, which almost seems to have a character of its own. The detail Poe put into the mansion, means that it is more then just a place to live but a symbol of what the people inside are like too.The first thing the narrator observes as he arrives to his old school friends house is the “vacant and eye-like windows” which unsuspectingly symbolizes to the narrator the depression and void that s/he will find out lives within the rest of the Ushers. When upon meeting the narrator friend, Roderick Usher, the narrator describes him in awe, saying he a “ghastly pallor of the skin”, almost as to say he has no emotion within him.
He had “silken hair, too, had been suffered to grow all unheeded, and as, in its wild gossamer texture”. This man was death with a living man.Roderick and his sister Madeline were both dying from a disease, only furthermore symbolizing what is to become of him, and his mansion. (pp. 8) The narrator continues to describe the house, saying how moss is growing everywhere and how it hasn’t broken down despite the “crumbling condition of the individual stones”(pp. 5). The mansion the narrator sees before him symbolizes the family itself.
Each stone symbolizing each individual to have live in that mansion, who by generation by generation become weaker because of the desire to keep the house within the family.There is no strong foundation within the family except between Roderick and Madeline, for they are like the stones in the house. If one were to be gone then the mansion would come down and nothing would be left.
Even the inside of the mansion reflects the Ushers. When the narrator enters, he sees “carvings of the ceilings, the sombre tapestries of the walls, the ebon blackness of the floors” (pp. 6).
Going to the narrator room, he describes the windows as “long, narrow, and pointed, and at so vast a distance from the black oaken floor as to be altogether inaccessible from within. ” (pp. 7).The mansion inside is also dark and depressing. There is no life that lives with this mansion, similarly to Roderick. At the climax, all the symbolism comes together.
As the door opens and there stands Madeline, covered in “blood upon her white robes, and the evidence of some bitter struggle upon every portion of her emaciated frame. ” There she stood trembling before she “fell heavily inward upon the person of her brother”, and there they both laid finally dead. At last, the Usher family line had died out and given into the nightmare that had been following them for generations. And so as the death of the Usher line, so does the house.Breaking in half and falling to ground, only summing up what was meant to be. (pp. 40) Analyzing The Fall of the House of Usher we can see that every detail Poe put in meant something.
Being that the object of a stone symbolizing each family member of the ushers; or the action of burying your own sister while she is alive, only implementing your own faith to be the same. All these symbolisms seem to mirror the relationship between the Ushers and the House, only to show that one is dependent on the other. We can all wonder what Poe’s main reasoning in writing The Fall of the House of Usher, but we can understand what his main lesson was.