He also notices that Roderick has slumped over in his chair and is muttering to himself. Roderick tells the narrator that he suffers from nerves and fear and that his senses are heightened. The narrator flees the house. He leads the narrator to the window, from which they see a bright-looking gas surrounding the house. He has come to the house because his friend Roderick sent him a letter earnestly requesting his company. The Usher family has become so identified with its estate that the peasantry confuses the inhabitants with their home. Soon, however, they become more distinct and he can no longer ignore them.
Characters cannot move and act freely in the house because of its structure, so it assumes a monstrous character of its own—the Gothic mastermind that controls the fate of its inhabitants. Poe, creates confusion between the living things and inanimate objects by doubling the physical house of Usher with the genetic family line of the Usher family, which he refers to as the house of Usher. As he escapes, the entire house cracks along the break in the frame and crumbles to the ground. In spite of this disadvantage, Madeline possesses the power in the story, almost superhuman at times, as when she breaks out of her tomb. He wants to keep her in the house because he fears that the doctors might dig up her body for scientific examination, since her disease was so strange to them.
Madeline is buried before she has actually died because her similarity to Roderick is like a coffin that holds her identity. The narrator approaches Roderick and listens to what he is saying. Madeline soon dies, and Roderick decides to bury her temporarily in the tombs below the house. . Only one member of the Usher family has survived from generation to generation, thereby forming a direct line of descent without any outside branches. Instead of standard narrative markers of place and time, Poe uses traditional Gothic elements such as inclement weather and a barren landscape.
As he reads, he hears noises that correspond to the descriptions in the story. The house crumbles into the tarn. This post is part of the series: More Short Story Teacher Guides. Roderick excitedly welcomes the narrator. She completes this attack when she kills him at the end of the story. Poe creates a sensation of claustrophobia in this story.
Introduction to elements of Gothic literature 34 pages; requires Adobe Reader. Throw in a mysterious illness, the existence of doubles Roderick and Madeline; the house and the house's reflection , and a supernatural environment and Poe's story embodies most of the elements of Gothic literature. The narrator tells Roderick that the gas is a natural phenomenon, not altogether uncommon. I now understood how my students felt, for I am he, the doleful Usher and I was about to teach the story that shared my name. The narrator finds the inside of the house just as spooky as the outside. Because the twins are so similar, they cannot develop as free individuals.
By undermining this fear of the outside, the narrator unwittingly brings down the whole structure. As he reads, the narrator hears sounds that correspond to the story he is reading. The narrator learns that Roderick's sister is near death. Over the next few days, Roderick's agitation grows. She attacks Roderick as the life drains from her, and he dies of fear.
The tarn outside the house adds to the symbolism: just like Roderick has a twin, so does the house—its reflection in the tarn. Roderick wrote that he was feeling physically and emotionally ill, so the narrator is rushing to his assistance. Extensive questions to guide student comprehension. Doubling spreads throughout the story. One night, the narrator cannot sleep either. In this video from the British Library 8:51 , Professor John Bowen discusses key motifs in Gothic novels, including the uncanny, the sublime and the supernatural. For example, Poe is the master of suspense.
Madeline stifles Roderick by preventing him from seeing himself as essentially different from her. Soon, Roderick posits his theory that the house itself is unhealthy, just as the narrator supposes at the beginning of the story. The upside down reflection reflects Roderick's misperception of the world. He yells that she is standing behind the door. I knew not how it was—but, with the first glimpse of the room, a sense of insufferable gloom pervaded my spirit. Summary and extensive analysis of the story. There is only a small crack from the roof to the ground in the front of the building.