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The Fall of the House of Usher

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1 The Fall of the House of Usher
Edgar Allan Poe

2 The Fall of the House of Usher
The most famous short story of Edgar Allan Poe. It is the masterpiece of American Gothic Fiction. Gothic Fiction: Dark, strange and melodramatic stories which lead to something evil.

3 Gothic Fiction Horror The supernatural Death Madness Hereditary curses
Medieval-like settings

4 Point of View First person A nameless narrator
He describes the events as he saw them

5 The narrator A friend of the master of the House of Usher. He witnesses terrifying events.

6 Roderick Usher The master of the house, he suffers from a depressing malaise. (uneasiness) A cadaverousness of complexion (corpse like) Thin, pallid (White) lips Large, liquid, luminous (bright) eyes

7 Madeline Usher Twin sister of Roderick. She also suffers from a strange illness. (Cataleptically – schizophrenia - character and a settled apathy)

8 The story The narrator arrives to the Ushers’ house; an old mansion encircled by a small tarn (lake). A bridge across the tarn provides access to the house. Roderick Usher, receives the visitor, a boyhood friend. Roderick, who is suffering from a strange mental illness, lives there with his twin sister Madeline who is near death due to a mysterious disease.

9 The story The narrator stays with them, he provides company to Roderick while he paints and plays guitar, he spends all his days inside, avoiding the sunlight. When Madeline dies, Roderick decides to bury her temporarily in one of his house’s large vaults. A few days later, during a stormy night, the Narrator couldn’t sleep, he was terrified. Roderick comes to the Narrator’s bedroom.

10 The story The narrator attempts to calm Roderick by reading “The Mad Trist,” a story about a Knight, “Ethelred” who slays a dragon and wins a shield of shining brass. As the narrator reads the book, they can listen to the same sounds related in the story. Roderick declares Madeline was alive when they buried her.

11 The story Then, Madeline emerges from her provisional tomb. She confronts Roderick and begins throttling him to death. The house begins to collapse, the narrator flees for his life. Roderick is head. He and Madeline are consumed by the falling house.

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