"The Fall of the House of Usher" Analysis
Poe creates an overall sense of dread and gloom by using nature to weave an atmosphere of horror. He uses cacophonous word choice and evokes a feeling of despair in the reader with the words “dull,” “dark” and “insufferable.
” Poe includes “phantasmagoric” to add to the haunted effect. The setting, described mostly by imagery, is the main basis of the tone. By describing the landscape as “simple and desolate” and a “singularly dreary tract of country” with “a few white trunks of decayed trees” as well as describing the house itself as having, “bleak walls… [and] vacant eye-like windows”, Poe brings a sense of death and despair into the reader, that is also felt slightly by the narrator. The narrator first sees the house cloaked in shadow and considers it a melancholy sight, but he quickly modifies his reaction: he is overcome by “a sense of insufferable gloom.” Because “The Fall of the House of Usher” is told in retrospect, the deliberate authorial tone isn’t compromised by the frantic mania of a horrified narrator. This is apparent in the second-to-last paragraph, “For a moment she remained trembling and reeling to and fro upon the threshold,—then, with a low moaning cry, fell heavily inward upon the person of her brother, and in her violent and now final death-agonies, bore him to the floor a corpse, and a victim to the terrors he had anticipated.
” This allows Poe’s story to unfold in a calm and controlled manner, even though the reader may not realize it till the end. This calm approach to such abnormal events is all- in- all horrifying in itself; Poe treats this horror story the same way a fairytale might be. His debate of normalcy and the inclusion of death as a last resort guide the reader to believe the melancholy of the situation as the narrator does. This strengthens the tone. Poe keeps the gloomy tone till the very end when the narrator states, “the deep and dark tarn at my feet closed sullenly and silently over the fragments of the ‘House of Usher.'”