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    Power of words in House of Usher and Rip van Winkle

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    The narrator describes the Dutch ninepin bowlers dressed in antique clothes that Rip meets in the Kaatskills as follows: "though these folks were evidently amusing themselves, yet they maintained the gravest faces, the most mysterious silence, and were, withal, the most melancholy party of pleasure he had ever witnessed." What effect does the seriousness of this group have on Rip, on what happens to him, and on the rest of the story?

    Discuss the connection between the power of the word to affect events in this story. Toward 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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    https://brainmass.com/english-language-and-literature/literature-arts/power-of-words-in-house-of-usher-and-rip-van-winkle-404602

    Solution Preview

    The immediate effect of the bowlers' seriousness is to make Rip feel uneasy. When he is instructed to serve the ale to the players he doesn't even think of disobeying. This results in his remaining with the group, eventually drinking the ale and falling asleep for 20 years. We later learn that the bowlers are the crew of the explorer Henrik ...

    Solution Summary

    This solution analyzes the effect of the bowlers' seriousness on the course of the story in Rip van Winkle, and the theme of the power of words in Poe's The Fall of the House of Usher.

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