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According to Dougherty, it is generally accepted that death is the "indefinite object" (Dougherty) of "The Fall of the House of Usher" but if we take a moment to read the poem that rests in the text, we might discover "evidence of a more culturally and historically specific source for Usher's terror" (Dougherty). This source, in Dougherty's opinion, is a "wild and mournful interlude" to the tale that "so powerfully impresses the narrator, Usher dreams nostalgically about an ancient ruler who sits at a glorious throne" (Dougherty). The lord in the poem seeks pleasure and needs reassurance of his superiority. Dougherty notes that many critics maintain that the poem is a "microcosmic account of Usher's one great story" (Dougherty) but Dougherty believes that the poem reflects a microcosm of a "white colonial nightmare about the impending destruction of the southern slavocracy" (Dougherty).
Dougherty believes that the "experience of violent slave rebellion was fresh in the minds of Virginians like Poe, and southerners more broadly, throughout the 1830" (Dougherty). He finds further reason for this in the fact that "The Haunted Palace" is "over-wrought imagery of lordship and rebellion" (Dougherty and therefore evokes a "mainly political insurrection; and in its invocation of class antagonism we may justly trace the contours of a distinctively southern paranoia in Usher's" (Dougherty). A slave-owner's fear of being assaulted is realized when the oppressed "finally rise up in rebellion against their lord and master" (Dougherty). In the end of the poem, the lordship is "debased" (Dougherty).
According to Dougherty, Poe's tale "underscores in its Gothicism" (Dougherty) a "loathsome blackness Usher fears is just as much a 'phantasmagoric conception'" (Dougherty). This perspective gives us something new to think about when we consider the blood that was spilling in America. Dougherty maintains that Americans were not just consumed with disease but also tainted blood introduced by another race. An interesting theory that brings us back to the notion of blood and mystery. Poe could not explain the deaths of those around him. The pain of loss was aggravated by the lack of knowledge relating to death.
The Fall of the House of Usher" is a story that tells us many things about mankind. We learn how life experience can manifest itself through art and serve as an outlet for feelings of isolation, pain, despair, loss, and fear. Poe manages to capture these emotions with narrators that linger on the edge of sanity and other characters that seem to dive headlong into a vat of bubbling insanity. The death that emerges from this tale is shrouded in mystery and the illness preceding up to the death is just as mysterious, if not more. Poe is reflecting upon the death that he witnessed throughout most of his life. Tuberculosis and consumption were just two of the things that snatched life away from innocent individuals at any age. Madeline's mysterious illness is never solved and her death only creates a greater impression of stress on the narrator. Death only removes the physical body, leaving the psychological to take over. The tale also reveals other aspects of society that were of interest. Shadows of alchemy and slavery are seen in the tale as points that move the reader to consider the various forms of death. Poe infuses the realm of the real with the notions of Romanticism to create his own brand of Gothic in "The Fall of the House of Usher," leaving us with the greater mystery of figuring out the tale to figure out life.
St. Armand, Barton, Usher Unveiled: Poe and the Metaphysic of Gnosticism." Edgar Allan Poe Society Online. Information Retrieved March 10, 2009. http://www.eapoe.org/pstudies/PS1970/P1972101.htm
Dougherty, Stephen. "Foucault in the House of Usher: Some Historical Permutations in Poe's Gothic." 2001. Information Retrieved March 10, 2009. GALE Resource Database. http://www.infotrac.com
Hoffman, Daniel. "The Fall of the House of Usher': An allegory of the Artist." Readings on Edgar Allan Poe. San Diego: Greenhaven Press. 1998.
Magistrale, Tony. American Writers. Parini, Jay. et al.New York: Charles Scribner's Sons. 2003.
Mankowitz, Wolf. The Extraordinary Mr. Poe. New York: Summit Books. 1978.
Poe, Edgar Allan. The Fall of the House of Usher." The Complete Tales of Mystery and Imagination. Minnesota: Amaranth Press:…[continue]
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Poe's Tell-Tale Heart Historical Critique of Poe's "Tell-Tale Heart" To understand Edgar Allan Poe's "Tell-Tale Heart," it may be beneficial to first understand the historical context within which it appears. Gothic horror was much in vogue with the popular reading public of the mid-19th century. Indeed, Poe's short story was published a decade after another story about a madman was published on the other side of the world in Russia -- "Diary
Poe's The Fall Of The House Of Usher Of all the authors to employ use of the Gothic style in their poetry or prose, none mastered the craft more than Edgar Allen Poe. The classic American fiction writer specialized in fostering a unique sense of dread and terror for his readers by successfully using elements of the Gothic genre such as the grotesque, or distorted imagery and setting, mysterious circumstances and
Poe, Fall of the House of Usher Edgar Allan Poe's "The Fall of the House of Usher" is perhaps the best-known American entry into the genre of Romantic and Gothic tale, yet it is worth asking what elements actually identify it as such. Spitzer describes the level of Gothic excess here: Roderick and Madeline, twins chained to each other by incestuous love, suffering separately but dying together, represent the male and the
Fall of the House of Usher Although Poe's "The Fall of the House of Usher" is a work of gothic horror, it is worth noting that the story's meaning is constructed in part by the use of puns. I do not use the word "pun" to refer to a joking play on words, but rather on the conscious use of a word that plays upon two potential meanings: the effect is
As Poe builds this emotional tension in the reader on through his construction of the sentences, he also does it on the level of the narrative itself. The sense of dramatic tension within the narrative is created by Poe's masterful use of foreshadowing and delay. A prime example of this occurs early in the story, when the narrator explains his presence at the Usher mansion. He reveals that the occupant
In conclusion, Edgar Allen Poe was the master of Gothic horror fiction, and his stories are still popular today because of his abilities. Poe was not above parody and humor, however, and this tale shows that. It is so ghastly that it gently pokes fun at the entire genre of horror fiction, and it is so unbelievable it remains as one of his most memorable tales. "The Fall of the
Watson, and his several forays into the real world to solve mysteries that confounded others. In this regard, Magistrale reports that, "Dupin solves crimes in part from his ability to identify with the criminal mind. He is capable of empathizing with the criminal psyche because Dupin himself remains essentially isolated from the social world" (21). In fact, Dupin also has a "sidekick" who serves as his narrator. According to