IB Short Story Discussion

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Title: Edgar Allen Poe and "Usher"
Category: IB Year 1 Blog
Description: Discussion of Poe's short story

How does this setting of "The Fall of the House of Usher" advance the plot and develop Roderick Usher as a character?


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Comment Posted by: anita at 10:41:46 PM on 01/12/2009

The setting of “The Fall of the House of Usher” greatly advances the plot and develops Roderick Usher as a character in various ways. One of the most prominent ways, would be the depressing tone that follows through the entire story. This can be seen in the opening sentence, “dull, dark and soundless day…clouds hung oppressively low… (57).” Speaking of the weather conditions helped set the mood in which such a story occurred which must be established for the reader. This also comes into play near the end, when the storm occurs, because storms nearly always foreshadow something bad that’s about to happen. The initial setting is so dark and gloomy that in a way, it kind of also foreshadows the ending and what happens to Roderick Usher. The atmosphere in which the story occurs is also very important in advancing the plot and Poe shows this through “…bleak walls…vacant eye-like windows…rank sedges…white trunks of decayed trees… (57).” Poe mentioned that “many books and musical instruments lay scattered about…(61) and that relates to how Usher is as a person. He is extremely scattered after becoming a hypochondriac and the setting shows this. Usher is initially described as someone with “…acute bodily illness—of mental disorder which oppressed him…(57),” is easily parallel with his own house as once being lively and full of action but later becoming rotten and falling apart. When Roderick Usher dies, he finishes “The Fall of the House of Usher”, for the house and its legacy could not fall with Usher still well and alive.

Comment Posted by: George C at 09:09:31 PM on 01/12/2009

Edgar Allen Poe masterfully uses setting to advance the plot and characterization of Roderick Usher in the short story “The Fall of the House of Usher.” The dilapidated mansion is the primary location of the plot and serves to supplement Usher’s dark, despondent, and intractable personality. Poe skillfully develops the setting and proposes a correlation between the fall of the Usher family and the disintegration of the Usher mansion. The narrator alludes, “…The “House of Usher” –an appellation which seemed to include, in the minds of the peasantry who used it, both the family and the family mansion” (59). Thus, Poe is suggesting that in reality, there is really no difference between diseased Usher and the crumbling mansion. Throughout the short story, the author also places subtle hints that illustrate the decaying setting. A poem found in Usher’s house ran, “…But evil things, in robes of sorrow assailed the monarch’s high estate…The glory that blushed and bloomed is but a dim-remembered story of the old time entombed” (69). This passage shows that the mansion was once vibrant and vivacious, much like the Usher family in earlier years, but with the passage of time, both the family lineage and home deteriorated.

Comment Posted by: F-Bomb Wang at 07:14:52 PM on 01/12/2009

Edgar Allen Poe not only draws a parallel between the House of Usher and Roderick Usher, but also uses the setting of the mansion to connote the image of a “tomb” to foreshadow the chilling events ahead while giving the plot substance. In addition to the House being obscured from any source of light, as the story progresses, the once conventional rooms turned into cavernous, vacant “vaults”. The spacious vaults not only foreshadow future endeavors the narrator succumbs to, but also shows the strange, shadowy transformation that the narrator observes in Roderick’s new “empty” personality. Furthermore, Poe describes Roderick’s painting is of an “immensely long and rectangular vault or tunnel”, connoting Madeline’s disturbing awakening from her grave and Roderick’s hollow yet chilling character.

Comment Posted by: Nick W at 02:19:17 PM on 01/12/2009

“The Fall of the House of Usher” is set on a “dull, dark soundless day.” The narrator describes the house as a “mansion of gloom” setting the tone for the entire story and the laying the framework for the introduction of Roderick Usher, a pale man who seems to be afraid of his own house. The narrator also reveals that he is suffering from a mental disease. We see his disease appear when he comes hysterically to the narrator’s room babbling about bright gas surrounding the house. The setting of the story, a ‘haunted hose’ sets the tone for the character, Roderick Usher. Someone who is abnormal, some the reader would imagine living in a ‘haunted house.’

Comment Posted by: Dieter aka cashflow at 11:40:36 AM on 01/12/2009

In the first paragraph Poe uses discriptive words to paint a picture of the House of Usher.Later in the story Poe uses similar words to describe. Roderick Usher. This is a reflection of how much the house has influenced Roderick as a character in the story. While describing the house to the reader, Poe is also describing Roderick Usher in a hidden manner. Later in the story, when the reader witnesses Roderick going insane after his sister's death, or recognizes her catatonic state, the reader then fully understands the depth of Roderick's character in the story. The mental state of Roderick is a parallel to the physical state of the house because it is rundown, "bleak," and "vacant," just like Roderick's mind when he realizes the catatonic state of his sister. When he starts to go insane towards the end of the story, the reader starts to see the connections between the descriptions of the house and the descriptions of Roderick Usher.

Comment Posted by: Kristin H. at 10:40:43 AM on 01/12/2009

Edgar Allen Poe used many techniques for setting to reveal the events at the end of the short story. The gloomy tone of the short story foreshadows the twisted ending. The tone helps reveal the ending from the beginning of the short story. In the very first sentence he uses words to describe the gloomy tone. He uses the word oppressive throughout the text, and introduces the narrator as alone in a very dreary part of country. This shows that he is starting the short story with a gloomy tone because he is telling the reader of upcoming events in the end of the short story. Edgar Allen Poe also describes the House of Usher on the first page. He describes the house by using the technique of personification. The house is given human qualities, to also foreshadow that the house will eventually come to an end, as in human nature. Poe also used one final aspect of setting. He stated the mental state of Roderick Usher and that the character contradicts his mental stability. In the previous paragraph on page fifty-eight, the house is compared to Roderick Usher, since the house is apart of the Usher Estate. This is where Edgar Allen Poe links the house to Roderick Usher. He foreshadows the future tragedy that will occur involving both the house of Usher and Roderick Usher.

Comment Posted by: Alex N. at 10:36:58 AM on 01/12/2009

The author, Edgar Allen Poe, built up the setting using extensive vocabulary to hint at the outcome of the novel for the reader. He also uses vocabulary to develop one of the main characters, Roderick Usher. In the first sentence alone, the author lets us in on the events that will be occurring later on by the use of his word “oppressively”. Oppressively, meaning distressing or grievous, describes the atmosphere inside the house of Usher. Other vocabulary words, such as melancholy, desolate, and cadaverousness give the reader hints about the outcome of this short story. By using these gloomy words, it is assumed that their will be death. And because these words are used to describe both Roderick Usher and his house, the reader can see that the use of these words is foreshadowing both of their deaths. The author also advances the plot using the setting in the beginning when he describes the season. When the author says autumn, the mind travels to the thoughts of death. Autumn is the death of summer, it’s cool and dreary. Keeping this in mind, we can relate that death to the death that is to come in the short story. He also writes about how “the clouds hung oppressively low in the heavens”, which in turn gives us the feeling that if the heavens and all the good that comes with it is cut out, then the story, along with Roderick Usher, will end in despair.

Comment Posted by: Brian G. at 10:16:29 AM on 01/12/2009

The setting has a very efficient way of making any short story advance, and reveals exactly what the author was thinking when he wrote the words of the story. Edgar Allen Poe was an author that had a very interesting writing style. Poe would take a whole page of text to just explain one scene using imagery and an immense amount of adjectives to explain the setting. “…first glimpse of the building, a sense of insufferable gloom pervaded my spirit.” Poe uses imagery to not just explain where a character stands, but who the character actually is. With the case of Roderick Usher he and his sister Madeline are the ones that occupy the dilapidated house of Usher. The state of the house definitely explains the ways of the characters. The house is in awful condition and the tenants have no problem with this. The setting of an old house that is about to fall to the ground represents who Roderick and Madeline are as characters. Most people who do not have to battle with mental illness like Roderick or physical illness of Madeline would not find this house habitable but the brother and sister had no problem living here. Also the state of the house most likely explains the Ushers, from generation to generation. With only the brother and sister being the last Ushers alive they were both soon destined to decease and the house would fall. Also Poe wanted to set the story during the season of fall, the time of dying or approaching winter the season of death. By doing this the reader can sense that dark moments lie ahead. The character Roderick who develops through the entire story is actually explained in the first sentence by using seasons, “….dull, dark, and soundless day in the autumn of the year…” Both he and his sister are truly dying, one from fear, and the other prom physical pain. Roderick’s problem is completely mental, he was a hypochondriac and was certain he would die soon, and the use of the autumn suggests that he truly is destined to die soon from when the story begins. Lastly Poe uses setting to establish the basis of the plot many times through the story, but one precise detail was when Poe writes about the Gothic archway as he enters the house. Poe’s best works were known as Gothic Fiction pieces. Gothic fiction is a genre that consists of horror and romance, often dark types of literature. By explaining this hallways gothic arches the reader knows that it is going to be a dark experience for the visitor to the House of Usher.

Comment Posted by: Zachary Hempstead at 10:13:15 AM on 01/12/2009

The setting of "The Fall of the House of Usher" is indispensable in the characterization of Roderick Usher. The readers do not actually meet Usher until the bottom of page 61, but even before then, the aspects of his character are already clear. Usher lives in a great mansion that is in an advanced stage of decay. Poe manages to convey this feeling in three ways. The first way is by emphasizing the gloominess of the surroundings ("...a dull dark, and soundless day in the autumn... when the clouds hung oppressively low..." (57)). Although such things as the weather are temporary, they help to set the mood for the place itself. The second way is by describing the dilapidated house in detail. “…bleak walls…rank sedges… white trunks of decayed trees… a black and lurid tarn…” (57) are some phrases he uses, among others. The third and most powerful way is by emphasizing that there is something indescribable about the house that is depressing; “…a sense of insufferable gloom pervaded my spirit…”. This, more than anything else, creates something sinister about the setting, because mere physical deformities can be explained away by simple reasons, but affectations of the soul can’t be. Before we even meet Usher, it can be gathered that he is part of the decay of what was once a great family, but is now utterly miserable.

Comment Posted by: taddy woogums at 09:30:44 AM on 01/12/2009

In the novel "The Fall of the House of Usher", by Edgar Alan Poe, setting is used to advance the plot and help develope the character Roderick Usher. From the very begginig of the story the setting creates a sense of darkness and death. "During the whole of a dull, dark, and soundless day in autumn of the year." The masion that Roderick lives in is very old and decaying from years of strain. This also describes Roderick as he slowly slips into madness and his health dwindles. The setting advances the plot by providing the reader with a strong sense of visual aid. The gloomy and depressing rooms of the mansion helps the reader understand Roderick's mental and physical state. When the sister is trapped in the donjon the setting aids the reader in understanding her delema. Without the setting the story would be very different.

Comment Posted by: Sean DiIorio at 09:30:44 AM on 01/12/2009

The setting of “The Fall of the House of Usher” helps advance the plot and develop the main character in multiple different ways. The description of the house itself plays a major role in shaping Usher’s character. Edgar Allen Poe uses effective methods when linking Usher’s character with the actual house. “…the eye, however, struggled in the vain to reach the remoter angles of the chamber, or the recesses of the vaulted and fretter ceiling. Dark draperies hung from the ceiling.” This perspective of a certain room in the house tells some things about his character. He is very quick to make connections to objects and situations that portray gloominess or depression. “A small picture presented the interior of an immensely long and rectangular vault or tunnel, with low walls, smooth, white, and without interruption or device.” Another description of parts of the house proves that he looks for things that aid him in making the setting seem darker or more depressing. “There were times, indeed, when I thought his unceasingly agitated mind was laboring with some oppressive secret, to divulge which he struggles for the necessary courage.” This concern expressed by the narrator shows that Usher is very sheltered and he tries to keep himself protected. Usher’s obvious mental illnesses were most likely the main reason for the sheltered, contained lifestyle that he had been living. Usher called upon the narrator to come see him after many years but still fails to tell him certain things about his life and events occurring in his house. Being a hypochondriac like Usher involves many personal obstacles that he must overcome and one of them, which is being displayed here, is trusting people and allowing them into his life.

Comment Posted by: HAMILTON at 09:28:13 AM on 01/12/2009

Thanks for your responses.

Comment Posted by: Vasily Kuksenkov at 12:59:15 AM on 01/12/2009

Upon reading "The Fall of the House of Usher," I only more understood the darkness of the writing of Edgar Allen Poe. I had read his work before, and I hadn't expected anything less gruesome. The story is about a man, Usher, who is sick both inside and out. Not only is he pallid and sickly from illness, but he is mentally unstable, and a perfect example of Poe's work. In the story, Poe makes certain use of setting to develop Usher as a character and to advance the plot. He uses the house, the mansion, in which Usher resides, as a symbol of the man that lives inside. Poe uses such words as "insufferable gloom" and "a sickening of the heart" on page 57 to describe the house. At this point we are unaware of who lives beyond these "bleak walls," but even before we meet Usher, we can make generalizations about him from the demeanor of his home. We meet Usher inside, and Poe continues to use dark and dreary adjectives all throughout the story. He describes the inside of the mansion as “phantasmagoric” on several occasions (pages 61 and 67). Poe reveals the immense imagery of the mansion just as if we were the main character, resting in a home I’m sure none of us would be comfortable with. Poe describes Usher as wan and emaciated, only adding to the morbid scene. At this point we’re almost expecting the worst to happen, and so it does. Poe makes a great deal to describe in all sickening detail the death of Usher on page 79, and he ends the story on page 81 with the collapse of the house, furthering the connection between the setting and the main character.

Comment Posted by: Mark L. at 10:55:55 PM on 01/11/2009

In the beginning of the short story, the setting matches Usher’s personality. The quote “many books and musical instruments lay scattered about, but failed to give any vitality to the scene (Page 61)” connects with Usher because the quote shows this part of the setting is inconsistent and doesn’t fit in with the rest of the setting. The other parts of the setting “gothic arches, carvings in the ceiling… (Page 61)” They are inconsistent with each other and do not make sense together. As for Usher, he is inconsistency shown in the quote “His action was alternately vivacious and sullen. His voice varied rapidly from a tremulous indecision (when the animal spirits seemed utterly in abeyance) to that species of energetic concision – that abrupt, weighty, unhurried, and hollow-sounding enunciation – that leaden self-balanced and perfectly moderated guttural utterance…” Just by the way he spoke the narrator observes the inconsistency Roderick Usher carries. This is similar to the setting of the story. As, the short story unfolds, Usher’s personality and speech is less responsive. “From a position fronting my own, he had gradually brought round his chair, so as to sit with his face to the floor of the chamber; and thus I could but partially perceive his features, although I saw that his lips trembled as if he were murmuring inaudibly... Yet I knew he was not asleep… (Page 77 and 78)” This is almost as if he is daydreaming. When one daydreams, they are not aware of the people around them and are unresponsive. This links with the setting because the two are now in a bedroom. When people are in a bedroom, they sleep; when one sleeps, they are unresponsive and are in a type of trance until awoken. This is similar to Usher’s behavior because he is in a trance like form and awakens when the narrator gives the hint of bewilderment when he starts to hear the sounds and turns to Usher. Without a word, Usher awakens from his “trance” and replies to the expression.

Comment Posted by: Florian at 10:19:02 PM on 01/11/2009

Roderick Usher was not like many other men. He was dark, gloomy and misterious. The narator had known him from his childhood but Roderick had always been mysterious and the narator had never really known him very well.Like his house Roderick is "a mystery all insoluble." Roderick, however, when the narator starts to meet with him again, shows himself to be very gloomy and dark or as the narator says about the house "[the] natural images of the desolate or terrible" which can also describe Roderick. Also the narator says the house is gloomy but that "feeling was...half-pleasurable, because poetic..." which is exactly like Roderick in the fact that Roderick was an amazing artist. Lastly the room into which the narator was first conducted into was filled with "feeble gleams of encrimsoned light [that] made their way through the trellised panes, and served to render sufficiently distinct the more prominent objects around; the eye, however, struggled in vain to reach the remoter angles of the chamber, or the recesses of the vaulted and fretted ceiling." This helps to show that Roderick does not enjoy a lighted room and prefers, instead, being in almost absolute darkness.

Comment Posted by: Reema B. at 09:25:39 PM on 01/11/2009

The setting of "The Fall of the House of Usher" advanced the plot and developed Roderick Usher as a character in several ways. The most prominent way in which this was accomplished was through the depressing tone that continues throughout the story. "… dull, dark, and soundless day in the autumn of the year, when the clouds hung oppressively low in the heavens..." This description of the setting provides an illustration which foreshadows later events. As the story is set in the season of autumn the author is foreshadowing horror and death. Also, a parallel can be drawn between the setting and the plot. No pinpoint location is given, therefore presenting a seeming mystery within the short story. The house is said to have “bleak walls” and “vacant eye-like windows”. This could be said to further develop the character of Roderick Usher because, as time has gone on, he has become like the house. “… upon a few rank sedges—and upon a few white trunks of decayed trees—with an utter depression of should which I can compare to no earthly sensation…” From this quote it can be derived that the character of Roderick Usher is depressed and lonely.

Comment Posted by: Jenna K at 09:23:26 PM on 01/11/2009

The setting describes how dead and dreary the house strikes the reader. This dreary, death-like image that the author created affects and reflects the plot of the entire story. The narrator paints a picture for the reader of a clear view of the house by saying things such as “bleak walls,” “vacant eye-like windows,” and “dark draperies hung upon the walls.” The setting introduces the depressed and down-hearted mood, which foreshadows the plot. The setting sets the mood for the play and gives the reader background information. The setting helps characterize Roderick Usher as a dreary character because it shows depicts his home as a depressed, crumbling and failing house, much like his ancestors. Overall, the setting depicts Usher as a depressing man and, as we eventually find out, possibly insane. The descriptions of his house give a lot of details about his life. The setting also assists the characterization of Roderick Usher in that he believes the fungi cultivating upon the side of his home is the basis of his insanity.

Comment Posted by: Kyle Frank at 09:06:17 PM on 01/11/2009

Roderick is a very strange and depressing person. His house is almost in the same state he is mentally. His house is described as the “melancholy House of Usher”. The house’s “bleak walls upon vacant eye-like windows” and “white trunks of decayed” trees describe a house that is anything but normal and very depressing much like Roderick as a person. He was also very pale like the trees. The house is also described as being “extensively decayed” much like Roderick's soul. Roderick was very involved in the arts and he loved music. Music and arts is usually associated with happiness and youth and liveliness. Later in life, Roderick has become eternally depressed and gloomy from age but mainly his state of being. Roderick like the house is crumbling. It is only a matter of time before he completely looses his mind or dies. Roderick, the last of the Ushers, has a crumbling foundation much like his house is described.

Comment Posted by: Kelcie W at 08:55:02 PM on 01/11/2009

In “The Fall of the House of Usher,” on page sixty one in the packet, Poe wrote, “A valet, of stealthy step, thence conducted me, in silence, through many dark intricate passages in my progress to the studio of his master.” The “dark intricate passages” relates to Roderick Usher’s personality. There is a connection made when we visualize the journey the narrator takes through the old house to meet his host, Roderick. The maze of hallways portrays a deteriorating, complex, and elaborate manor home, all of which can also describe Roderick Usher. Furthermore, the fact that Roderick is first seen sitting in a studio elevates him to a higher class and we immediately assign intelligence to his character. The setting affects us in this manner because of stereotypes we allot to varying locations. For example, if Roderick was initially seen in a room other than the studio such as a kitchen or drawing room, different characteristics may have been assigned to him. However the first impression of the studio imprints a certain distinctiveness of Roderick before there is ever any face-to-face interaction between him and the narrator.

Comment Posted by: Leah S. at 08:40:29 PM on 01/11/2009

The main character in this short story, Roderick Usher, is in fact the owner of the Usher mansion. Although it is his twin sister that suffers from an illness, in a way, he too is sick, but not physically. Usher's mind is corrupt and isn't able to sort out his real life events from his imagination. The setting in this short story gives incredible insight and plays a very important role. The mansion that Roderick owns is described as though it has, "absorbed an evil," and, "diseased atmosphere from the decaying trees and murky ponds around it." This describes the house, however, it also describes the plot and characters. The house is so disturbing and mysterious that it even terrifies the inhabitants or owners. The decaying objects can also symbolize the Usher twins because they are gradually becoming more demented and delirious the longer they live in this mansion. The Usher family line is ending, as well as the minds and lives of Roderick and Madeline Roderick. This is proved when the conclusion of the narrative ends when Roderick realizes he has buried his twin sister alive and she comes back to kill him.

Comment Posted by: Skyler at 08:03:32 PM on 01/11/2009

Edgar Allen Poe uses setting in "The Fall of the House of Usher" to advance the plot by using 3 of the six elements of setting. The first, geographical location. The House is all alone in the countryside with nothing surrounding it. This creates an eerie setting in the short story that sets the plot for things to come. The second, Time. It takes place in the past, but in the adulthood phase of life of two boyhood friends. The third, Weather conditions. The storm that comes in at the end of the short story really sets the mood for something bad to happen. Storms are almost always used to create a scary mood in a story. Setting is also used to develop the character Roderick Usher in the short story. Edgar Allen Poe uses the other 3 elements of setting to do this. The characters way of life, which is basically hanging around the house all day long shows that Roderick has closed himself off from the world. Historical events, Roderick has a history of mental health issues in his family, that is why he asks the narrator to come in his letter, because he has gotten it too. The psychological state of the character. Roderick is obviously not in the correct state of mind. "It was, he said, a constitutional and a family evil, and one for which he despaired to find a remedy..." This quotation taken from page 63 of the text proves that Roderick indeed has a mental illness. The six elements of setting used in this way in "The Fall of the House of Usher" advance the plot, and develop Roderick Usher as a character when used in this way under these circumstances.

Comment Posted by: Eileen C at 08:02:45 PM on 01/11/2009

In most stories, especially short stories, there are parallels between the plot, characters, and setting. In the short story “The Fall of the House of Usher” by Edgar Allan Poe, each character is developed as the plot thickens and the setting comes into focus. We, as readers, first meet Roderick Usher at the beginning of the story. He is presented to us as the proprietor of the House of Usher. The manner in which Usher is described by Poe is a person with a “…acute bodily illness--of a metal disorder which oppressed him--…” The condition of health that Usher is in is similar to the state of the House of Usher, “…bleak walls…vacant eye-like windows…utter depression of the soul…” The house is intrinsically connected to Usher. As Usher’s health fails, the state of house fails. Another important aspect of the plot is the diction of the setting. The setting throughout the short story is conveyed in a dark manner. As the narrator enters the House of Usher, he enters a room with, “Feeble gleams of encrimsoned light made there way through the trellised panes…” Both the light and the narrator are apprehensive to enter the room where Usher resides. Poe’s artful use of parallelism between the plot, setting, and characters develops the characters by allowing the reader to understand how the characters describe certain scenes. It also advances the plot due to how the characters react, think about, or describe the setting in which they are in.

Comment Posted by: Taylor B. at 07:58:45 PM on 01/11/2009

Edger Allen Poe uses a unique technique in regard to the setting of his short story “The Fall of the House of Usher.” He does so by following strict guidelines for the development of his setting. As Poe characterizes the house prior to Usher himself, he draws a parallel to Roderick Usher. The geographic location is not given ensuring that no connections can be made by the reader. Aside from contextual clues the story is timeless. And aside from this the setting of the story is described as a very dull and dismal place. As Poe further develops the setting he is really further alluding to Usher; as time passes within the story and the focus moves from the description of the House of Usher to Usher himself the transition is rather seamless and supplementary descriptions of the setting are further used in order to describe Usher and his state. Lastly to draw the parallel of the aging mansion to Usher as they both shared youth at one point in time where the author describes their boyhood briefly, Poe even uses the setting to describe Usher’s aged condition.

Comment Posted by: Lauren D. at 07:54:15 PM on 01/11/2009

When the narrator finally reaches the House of Usher, he finds that it is not the house from his memories. This house has fallen to an atrociously dilapidated state."...but with the first glimpse of the building a sense of insufferable gloom prevaded my spirit." The narrator no longer sees the prosperous, ALIVE house that he knew from his boyhood. What he sees before him is a decaying, rotting building that reflects its master. "...the vacant and eye-like windows." "Surely, man had never before so terribly altered, in so brief a period, as had Roderick Usher! It was with difficulty that I could bring myself to admit the identity of the wan being before me with the companion of my early boyhood." The setting of the House of Usher and the person of Rodrick Usher play off of eachother. The narrator's admition that he barely recognized the 'cadaverous' man before him and his recognition of the outside of Usher House reveals that both are now only listless husks of what they had once been. The disconcertingly cheerless and funereal setting that the reader first encounters with the narrator sets the stage for the inescapable feelings of melancholy gloom and hopelessness for the entire story. Throughout the story, the theme of death and decay and the setting of Rodirck Usher's crumbling, decomposing home, lets the reader project these things onto the character of Rodrick Usher himself. Leaving the reader with a dual or even interchangeable sense that Rodrick Usher and his house are a sickness to eachother.

Comment Posted by: Lauren Burt at 04:28:53 PM on 01/11/2009

Usher is portrayed as a once-great man, but now is aging and being brought down by illness. His family had once been wealthy and great. Now, all that is left is a dilapidated old house and two dying Ushers. The day was described as "dull, dark, and soundless." The "clouds hung oppressively low", and the house was stated twice as having "vacant eye-like windows." The entire first paragraph focuses on the dreariness and cold loneliness of this house. This gives insight into Usher's life. It has become lonely and frozen over by mental illness. Neither he nor his sister/wife are fully alive anymore. Their "house" is falling, and the setting makes it quite evident that they will both die in a cold and undesirable way. The "precipitous brink of a black and lurid tarn" signifies how the still-alive but doomed Usher is on the brink of death, though he may not appear quite so far gone yet. The overall negative feeling of the house, the "insufferable gloom", gives rise to a story both suspending and fatedly tragic.

Comment Posted by: Natasha R at 12:09:51 PM on 01/11/2009

When Poe introduces the House Of Usher to the reader, the reader is given a dark and lurid tarn next to a run-down and desolute house. When Poe says "vancant eye- like windows" many could assume that the house is the Usher lineage. The "Fall of the House of Usher" is about the destruction of the house but also of the fall of the century-old family. So the crumbling of the house could be paralleled with the crumbling of Roderick Usher's mind. Like the interior, which is still intact but worn down, Roderick Usher's mind is much the same. The house and family was once prosperous and well-taken care of, is now slowly but surely crumbling to the ground. This could be compared to Roderick Usher, who used to be a wealthy educated man but is now a frail hypocondriac. Roderick Usher dies and completes "The Fall of the House of Usher".

Comment Posted by: MeganG at 12:15:18 AM on 01/11/2009

The setting of "the Fall of the House of Usher" sets up the plot and the character Roderik Usher by using the descriptor words to give off a mood that last from begining to end. the use of words such as oppressivly, insufferable, gloom and more that give off the derpessing image of desaster. these and words like them are used to decribe the setting of the house that Roderick Usher is living in. The image of the house that is given to the reader is one of a dark evil house that no good from come from. this sets up the character of usher and the plot by starting off the whole set of events with a depressing image of the place that represents the life of the character. The setting sets up the plot by having the discripions give off a forshadow of tragity that even from the first sentence is seen as inevitable. It is clear that by giving the image of gloom and darkness Edgar Allan Poe did not want this short story to have a sense of happieness but to let it be known that there will be a tragic set of events to be read.

Comment Posted by: Jillian! at 05:34:26 PM on 01/10/2009

In the story, Poe describes the setting as desolate and melancholy. In the first paragraph, the narrator describes the scene- "Upon the mere house, and the simple landscape features of the domain--upon the bleak walls--upon the vacant eye-like windows..." The way he describes the setting here shows that the once great Usher name is falling apart. The house represents the family of Usher, and the narrator quotes that the house triggers "an utter depression of soul which I can compare to no earthly sensation..." This statement makes the reader believe that not only the house itself, but the people residing in the house are depressed, melancholy, and by the looks of the house, may have some mental disability that causes them to not take good care of themselves. With such detail Poe describes the setting, which advances the plot and develops Roderick Usher as a character. Not only does Poe describe the scene of the house, but also describes the psychological state of the character to illustrate the setting. In the initial letter that Usher writes to the narrator, the narrator can tell that something is bothering Usher. "The MS. gave evidence of nervous agitation," and later, "Surely, man had never before so terribly altered...as had Roderick Usher!" Since Poe describes so far in detail the psychological state of the character and the house itself, the setting in the story helps advance the plot and develop Roderick Usher as a character.

Comment Posted by: Crazy Alice. at 04:58:57 PM on 01/10/2009

Right from the beginning of the short story, Poe creates a dark, depressing atmosphere by his meticulous descriptions to convey the doomed fate that Roderick Usher had to succumb to. The “ghastly tree-stems”, and the “decayed trees” reflects Roderick’s ominous fate from the confinement of the Usher family ancestry. The family has no stable enduring branches from their family tree because all of their genes were biologically reproduced from within their lineage, explaining Roderick’s fragile and weak characterization. Furthermore, the claustrophobic atmosphere of the House metaphorically represents Roderick’s inability to express his individuality in terms of how similar he is to Madeline because of their sinful genetic makeup. When the narrator witnesses the House of Usher as a reflection of the “black and lurid tarn”, it is a connotation toward the inversely symmetrical relationship of Madeline and Roderick, or a threshold to Roderick’s doomed fate. Roderick Usher explains to the narrator that the “dim tarn brought about the morale of his existence”, which further justifies how his fate was solely based on his genetic make-up. Thus, the last image of the tarn represents the ominous fate of Usher’s family lineage, or his threshold to death.

Comment Posted by: Kimmy P at 07:50:55 PM on 01/09/2009

The lack of specifics in the description of the setting adds a mysterious element to the story as well as an idea that a scary house such as that of Roderick Usher could be located in any time or place. Also, the use of words such as 'dull, dark and dreary' give a depressing and sad tone to the story. The description of the house also parallels Usher as dying and disintegrating with 'vacant eyes'. And, since the mansion is isolated, that shows how Usher himself is isolated, furthering adding to his mysterious character. The name of the story, 'the fall of the house of usher' foreshadows that the Ushers, after being well known and respected, were going to 'fall' and eventually die out, and that Roderick Usher along with his sister Madeline, were the last line of the family.

Comment Posted by: Kathleen Seip at 03:27:20 PM on 01/09/2009

After reading “The Fall of the House of Usher”, I depicted what the setting was. I learned that throughout this short story, the setting was very dreary, and mellow. The setting helps advance the plot in this short story. Throughout much of this short story, the weather is very dark, dull, and autumn was the season that this short story was written. The season of autumn is a time of dying, and winter is the season of death. This foreshadows that Usher’s death is approaching. The setting of this story is very sad, showing that much of Usher’s life was filled with sorrow and depression. Most of what is spoken in the text, portrays the bleak surroundings and sorrow personality of Roderick Usher. Roderick Usher is a man who is spoken, as depressed and horrid. In this short story he is shown as a man who lives in sorrow and does not try to cure his illness. Also, he seems as though he is slightly out of the ordinary. He does not act like he cares about his life, and when he speaks he does not say “normal” things. On page 63, Usher spoke, “I shall perish… I must perish… I be lost”. At this point of the story, Usher seems as though he does not care about life, and does not seem as though life is worth living. Overall, the setting of “The Fall of the House of Usher”, advances the plot and develops Roderick Usher as a character.

Comment Posted by: Hillary T at 01:24:11 PM on 01/09/2009

The creepy, dark, dreary setting of "The Fall of the House of Usher" advances the plot and develops Roderick Usher as a character. "With the first glimpse of the building, a sense of insufferable gloom pervaded my spirit...the mere house, the simple landscape features of the domain, upon the bleak walls, upon the vacant eye-like windows, upon a few rank sedges, and upon a few white trunks of decayed trees." I think this one simple sentence can clearly show Roderick Usher's personality and description. As we read more into the story, this description of the setting and the house in which Usher lives clearly reflects the personality of Usher himself. His is a creepy old man who is falling apart and "decaying", much like the trees. The setting of the story advances the plot because it gives us a hint as to why Roderick Usher is the way he is.