3 Some Themes to consider in “The Fall of the House of Usher”: Terror—arises from the complexity and multiplicity of forces that shape human destiny.Evil—it has been at work in the House of Usher for generations.Isolation– Roderick and Madeline have sealed themselves in the tomb of their mansion, and their “soul-sickness” comes, in part, from their lack of contact with the outside world.
4 Themes Failure to adapt to modern traditions. Madness– Roger and Madeline suffer from mental illness characterized by anxiety, depression, and other symptoms.Mystery– from the beginning of the story, the narrator realizes that he is in a world of mystery in his surroundings.Strange Phenomena—the mood, atmosphere, and setting mirror the characters and their situations.
5 The Narrator: The The narrator is anonymous—a Poe trademark The Narrator: The The narrator is anonymous—a Poe trademark. The narrator often has no name, perhaps suggesting an untrustworthy or unreliable narrator. The audience may call into question how true the story is.
6 What does the narrator discover about the brother and sister after viewing Madeline in her coffin?
7 What does this discovery explain about the characters of Roderick and Madeline?
8 An Allegory is a story or poem that can be read on one level for its literal meaning and on a second level for its symbolic meaning
9 How might this story be read as an allegory of the journey into the human mind?
10 How convincing is Poe’s treatment of the irrational mind? Consider descriptions of Roderick’s state of mind and the workings of the narrator’s imagination.