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The Fall of the House of Usher by Edgar Allan Poe.

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1 The Fall of the House of Usher by Edgar Allan Poe

2 After reading ¶1 on p. 123, summarize what the narrator already knows about Roderick Usher and his family estate. The family is very old The family is very reserved, artistic and charitable. The family isnt very big – only a direct line of descent (inheritance) The mansion and the family are identified as one in the name House of Usher

3 How does the description of the room contribute to the mystery of the story? The large, high ceilinged room seems dark, suggesting claustrophobia The light is encrimsoned or reddened, suggesting blood or death The narrator describes the atmosphere as stern and gloomy

4 In your own words, sum up Ushers view of his situation. He suffers from overly sensitive senses He is afraid of being taken over by fear He thinks that fear will kill him

5 What is so startling about the narrators first glimpse of Madeline Usher? She looks just like Roderick. Hes overcome with stupor and he notices that Roderick goes pale and cries.

6 What does Ushers painting suggest to you? The flood of light in the closed, apparently underground room suggests Rodericks desire to overcome the oppressive atmosphere of the mansion. It might also suggest his desire to banish something sinister about either the house, or Madeline, or both.

7 How might the poem parallel Roderick Ushers situation? The poem begins with a prince who is happy and a palace that is bright, musical, and beautiful. However, evil corrupts the happy palace and leaves it full of sinister beings. The red-litten windows echo the encrimsoned light in the Usher mansion and suggest that the Usher family was once happy but now is oppressed by sinister forces.

8 What is strange about Madelines face as she lies in the coffin? She and Roderick look unnervingly alike She has some color in her face She has a slight smile on her face

9 What do you infer about the changes in Ushers behavior? His voice trembles and he wanders constantly, suggesting agitation He seems like he has a secret he wants to tell, and he looks sometimes like hes listening closely to something This suggests that he is very afraid and knows something he should tell the narrator

10 Which of the narrators experiences in the Usher mansion might have led to what he endeavored to believe? He is increasingly fearful and tries to believe that its just because of the dark, gloomy atmosphere of the house. However, the burial of Madeline probably unnerved him, too.

11 What is the storm like and what is gathering around the house in the storm? The storm seems like a whirlwind (vortex!) with wind going in all directions Theres also a mist or fog gathering around the house that actually glows unnaturally.

12 Describe the mood of the story after the narrator thinks he hears the very cracking and ripping sound … from his reading. This creates a frightening and suspenseful mood, as well as mysterious as the reader tries to figure out where the noises are coming from.

13 What effect do the passages from the Mad Trist have on the events of the story? They add to the suspense as the sounds the narrator hears are not only predicted by the story, but slowed in pace by the intervening passages from the story.

14 What do you predict will happen after the narrator reads about the shield falling to the floor? He will hear a crashing sound.

15 On the basis of what Usher is saying on this page, what do you expect to happen next? He says, I tell you that she now stands without the door This suggests that Madeline is about to enter, having broken out of her coffin.

16 What happens to Roderick and Madeline Usher? She comes in, covered in blood from her struggle to escape her coffin, and falls on him. He falls with her and dies of fear.

17 What happens to the Usher house? The crack noticed by the narrator at the beginning of the story rips wide open and the house collapses into the tarn (pond).

18 Narrator Method of Characterizati on Example or Quote (with page number) What it shows about character Characters thoughts p. 122 what was it that so unnerved me Rational/logical Characters words p. 122 feels he must go to RU Kind, sympathetic

19 Narrator Method of Characterizatio n Example or Quote (with page number) What it shows about character Other characters thoughts p. 122 Roderick asks him to visit Trustworthy Characters actions p. 130 doesnt question Madelines burial passive Characters own words p. 122 Describes Roderick observant

20 Roderick Usher Method of Characterization Example or Quote (with page number) What it shows about character Other characters words/own actions p. 122 passionate devotion to … musical science; his painting; plays music; poetry artistic Characters own words p. 125 nervous affection morbid acuteness of the senses fatal demon of fear p. 123 web-work fungi p. 124 weblike hair Sensitive, controlled by vampire house

21 Roderick Usher (cont) Method of Characterizatio n Example or Quote (with page number) What it shows about character Characters own words p. 126 tenderly beloved sister bitterness about her illness Loving, values family Other characters words p. 122 his reserve had been … excessive reserved

22 Roderick Usher (cont) Method of Characterizatio n Example or Quote (with page number) What it shows about character Characters own actions p. 134 I heard her first feeble movements …yet… I dared not speak Passive, possibly cruel

23 Madeline Usher Method of Characterization Example or Quote (with page number) What it shows about character Other characters words p. 126 Hitherto she had steadily borne up Tenacious Other characters words p. 135 Is she not hurrying to upbraid me for my haste? Vengeful Other characters actions/words p. 134 we have put her living into the tomb Possibly vampiric

24 Madeline Usher Method of Characterization Example or Quote (with page number) What it shows about character Characters own action p. 126 sole companion for long years Loyal Narrators comments P. 126 disease…. Had long baffled… physicians mysterious

25 The House of Usher Method of Characterizatio n Example or Quote (with page number) What it shows about character Other characters thoughts/nar rators comment p. 122 utter depression of soul when looking at house; vacant eye like windows Oppressive/ lifelike other characters thoughts/nar rators comment p. 129 order of stones, fungi (similar to Rs hair p. 124), reflection in tarn, vapor around house sentient

26 The House of Usher Method of Characterization Example or Quote (with page number) What it shows about character Other characters thoughts p. 123 fungi in webwork; p. 124 Rs web-like hair; loss of life force; Madeline rises from dead (sort of) Vampiric Other characters thoughts p. 123 barely perceptible fissure; p. 135 collapses Unstable/ run-down

27 Romantic Story Analysis Chart

28 Fantasy and Imagination Madeline being buried alive and breaking out of coffin and crypt Story of Ethelred Haunted Palace poem Mansions oppressive personality and possible vampirism

29 Love of Nature N/A

30 Intense Emotion Rodericks fear and guilt Narrators fear and dread Madelines desire for retribution Possible vampiric tendencies of the house and/or Madeline

31 Sympathetic interest in the past, medieval Mansion seems medieval, including old furniture, crypt Old, noble family Ethelred

32 Exotic Places Huge mansion Underground crypt with copper clad floor and iron doors Strange reflection of house in tarn (pond)

33 Legends and Myths Ethelred Vampires Stories of being buried alive Rodericks superstitious beliefs about house

34 Death Madeline Roderick House of Usher

35 Morbid melancholy; insanity Rodericks guilt and fear drive him insane Could interpret Roderick and Madeline as two parts of a personality – Roderick is repressing all his physical desires, leaving himself out of balance and dangerously unstable. Mansion might also be sapping the energy from Roderick and Madeline like a vampire.

36 The Supernatural Madeline seems to rise from the dead House has oppressive and possibly vampiric personality (sentient) House falls apart when Ushers die as if only their life force keeps it together

37 Failed Love N/A

38 Mysticism Roderick possibly understands what is happening to Madeline when Roderick doesnt – her being victimized by the house and possibly turned into a vampire. This might explain her burial in crypt with copper floor and iron doors.

39 Rural Life and the Common Man Mansion seems to be in a rural area NOT common people


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