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Poe's Use of Language in "The Fall of the House of Usher"

Discuss the connection between the power of the word to affect events in this story. At the beginning of the story, the narrator links the house that the Ushers live in with their bloodline, and when both characters die at the end, the house physically collapses. Similarly, the noises that Madeline makes in approaching Roderick's chamber seem perfectly timed, even caused by, the story of Ethelred and the dragon that the narrator reads aloud. Roderick's wan face and pale skin are also said to be a result of the books he reads. Why do you think Poe makes literary language appear so powerful in this story?

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Your question addresses the power of the words used in Poe's story, "The Fall of the House of Usher," and their effectiveness. It is one of Poe's trademarks to use language to create not only the mood of his stories, which is inevitably suffused with "darkness," but to transport the reader to the darkest corners of Poe's imagination, as well as into the desolation that permeated his personal life: two things which I doubt can be clearly separated.

I find that the line in the story that most directly makes the connection of the relationship-or interconnectedness-of all things is found at the beginning of "The Fall of the House of Usher."

"I was forced to fall back upon the unsatisfactory conclusion, that while, beyond doubt, there are combinations of very simple natural objects which have the power of thus affecting us, still the analysis of this power lies among considerations beyond our depth. It was possible, I reflected, that a mere different arrangement of the particulars of the scene, of the details of the picture, would be sufficient to modify, or perhaps to annihilate its capacity for sorrowful impression..."

Poe ...

Solution Summary

This posting discusses the powerful use of language by Edgar Allan Poe in his short story, "The Fall of the House of Usher."

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