Presentation on theme: "Two Sides of Oneself Duality of man (man is both good and evil, light and dark can be contained in same person) “ Mirror ” Image (the double or look-alike."— Presentation transcript:
Two Sides of Oneself Duality of man (man is both good and evil, light and dark can be contained in same person) “ Mirror ” Image (the double or look-alike stranger) “ Twin ” characters (separate yet inseparable) Doppelganger — the motif of the double or fractured image fairly common to literature
The Doubling Motif In literary criticism, this is called a “doppelganger,” from the German for “double-goer” Examples are: –Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (Robert Louis Stevenson) –The Secret Sharer (Joseph Conrad)
What function does the doppelganger motif serve? Represents the dual nature of man –In Poe, one side of man is reason, or the mind –The other is emotion, or the body Roderick and Madeleine are genetically twins, but psychologically they are also doubles.
Who Represents What? Roderick –An artist figure –Nervous agitation –Lives in dark upstairs apartment –Cadaverous complexion –“want of moral energy” –“excessive nervous agitation”
Roderick’s mental condition is affected by his environment “He was enchanted by certain superstitious impressions in regard to the dwelling which he tenanted... An effect which the physique of the gray walls and turrets, and of the dim tarn into which they all looked down, had, at length, brought about upon the morale of his existence.”
Here, “physique” refers to something physical And “morale” refers to something mental Roderick is all mind in a weak body He represents in one way the life of the isolated artist –Paintings –Reading –Guitar playing
Madeleine –Illness has debilitated her –All descriptions focus on the body –“gradual wasting away of the person” –Roderick and the narrator screw down the lid of her coffin –She returns from the tomb to reclaim her twin brother, her “double” –“the huge antique panels…threw back” –She “fell heavily inward upon…her brother and…bore him to the floor a corpse”
What is Poe’s point? Poe addresses the dual and conflicted nature of the Self Mind and body are at war with each other in each of us We try to repress one side and live without it But we cannot achieve a harmonious existence in this way
The Function of Setting - Exterior The “house of Usher” has two meanings 1.The physical dwelling 2.The family line, or lineage – “the entire family lay in the direct line of descent”
The house is also a type of character in the story –Like the family, it is of “an excessive antiquity” –The landscape is overgrown and ragged –On the front down the middle is “a barely perceptible fissure” going in “a zigzag direction”
Interior Setting Gothic architecture –“windows were long, narrow and pointed” –“feeble gleams of encrimsoned light” –“dark draperies” –“atmosphere of sorrow” Roderick lives upstairs (mind) Madeleine is entombed below ground (body)
Structure and Unity Poe creates texts within texts 1.“The Haunted Palace” (poem) reflects the Usher family life in the house 2.“The Mad Trist” (story) parallels Madeleine’s return from the grave 3.The storm outside is analogous to the turmoil inside the characters in the house 4.The book titles in Roderick’s library are symbolic of the themes of the story
An author should “conceive, with deliberate care, a certain unique or single effect to be wrought out, [and] then invent such … events as may best aid him in establishing this preconceived effect. In the whole composition there should be no word written, of which the tendency, direct or indirect, is not to the one pre-established design.
Unity in “Fall of the House of Usher” First and last paragraphs are mirror images of each other, creating symmetry The texts-within-text reinforce the central theme The house itself symbolizes the split in the family The construction of the house reflects a “perfect adaptation of parts”
In his seminal essay, ‘The Philosophy of the Short-Story,” Branden Matthews, argued that “the dominance of the three-decker novel had ‘killed the Short-Story in England’, while in France and America conditions had favoured the development of the short-fiction which was different in kind, not merely in length, from the novel” (Shaw). Matthews went on to state that in the late nineteenth-century, English writers lacked the tradition of storytelling as an instinctive literary art, and the main reason that accounted for this was the dominance of the Victorian novel. Similarly, Shaw claims that the rise of the short story in England was closely linked with the emergence of the modern artist and the arousal of anti-Victorianism in the widest sense towards the end of the nineteenth- century. Furthermore, V.S.Pritchett suggests that the ‘essentially poetic’ quality of the literature produced under tense pioneering conditions in America has nothing to do with the literary polish which characterises the Victorian novel, since the origins of American literature stem its power from something ‘raw and journalistic.’ (Shaw) - Shaw, Valerie. ‘The Short-Story: A Critical Introduction.’ London and New York: Longman, 1983
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