Of House Of UsherFall of the House of Usher “During the whole of a dull, dark, and soundlessday in autumn of the year, when the clouds hung oppressively low in theheavens. . . ” is the opening sentence to the ever strange The Fall of theHouse of Usher by Edgar Allan Poe (1373).
This sentence pretty much simplifiesthe mood of this gothic tale of death and the supernatural. This storyencompasses a unique setting which acts out the story by itself. Much emphasisis placed on the looks and feeling that the house gives to the unnamed narrator. Through the use of imagery this great poet sets the mood or foreshadows what isexpected to come. The ever presence of the “mansion of gloom” causesthe reader to imply that only evil and death shall arise from the house (Poe1374).Order now
Imagery, when used correctly, can be a mighty weapon that gives any storya certain feeling different from others. Imagery sets the stage to give thereader an idea of what the setting is and how it effects the outcome of thestory. In the introduction of this tale the narrator approaches a house of along time friend, Roderick Usher, and has a “sense of insufferable gloompervading my spirit” (Poe 1374). To the narrator the windows appear to be”vacant” and “eye-style” and the narrator goes on to observethe “rank edges,” and the “black and lurid tarn,” in whichhe sees the reflection of the house. He later says, “when I again upliftedmy eyes to house itself, from its image in the pool, there grew a strangefancy.
. . ” (Poe 1376). Although the narrator tried to view everything hesees in a rational manner, upon seeing the house and its surroundings, he has asense of superstition. He goes on to say that, “about the whole mansion anddomain there hung an atmosphere peculiar to themselves and their immediatevicinity” (Poe 1377).
This statement indicates that perhaps the house doesindeed have supernatural characteristics. The narrator also notices the fungi onthe walls and the poor structure of the house and suggest that somethingpossibly supernatural is holding the house intact, otherwise it would havefallen to the ground long ago. The setting is shown to be the house itself andall of these quotations concrete the fact that Poe used various gloomydescriptions in order to get across the total evil that encompasses the house. Death is apparent and is “in the air” because the house is ghostly andeverything involving the Mathusalehistic (Bible) house. Setting can not just bequarantined by itself when analyzing a story because many details make up theoverall setting. Setting is not limited to concrete objects and places but afeeling can also be the inner setting of the story.
In The Fall of the House ofUsher several great aspects of the setting are death, supernatural, evil, andeverything else from the dark side of the spectrum. In the story there is anincrease of negativity on the atmosphere of sorrow, which turns to one of greatevil, which leads to death: death of Roderick Usher. It is in the atmosphere andcreates a living nightmare for Roderick. It is a nightmare that wants to escapebut cannot – that is he can not escape the nightmare alive. In this story deathis not considered as a bad occurrence, especially for Usher, who uses death ashis only means of escape: his only way to freedom. And in the end Lady Madelineof Usher seeks revenge on Roderick but she does not know that he welcomes death.
Usher preferred death than the hellish prison his life was becoming. It isdeath, in the fall of Usher; Usher finally has peace- he finally has freedom. Poe uses death and evil as the main non-concrete setting of the story. The wholeentire story revolves around this feeling of death and becomes a major settingof the story.
The setting of any story greatly influences what the reader issuppose to perceive from what will happen and what is actually happening. In thestory The Fall of the House of Usher Poe with the use of imagery gives thereader a sense of the total evil of the house. The mood for the story can beseen rather early on and is intended to get the reader in the right frame ofmind for what is about to happen. Poe also used a thought or feeling as asetting. He incorporated evil and death into the story and these became its maintheme: “I shall perish, I must perish in this deplorable folly.
. . . – I feelthat I must abandon life and reason together I my struggles with some fataldemon of fears” (Poe 1378-1379).