Edgar Allan Poe ?? ??The Fall of the House of Usher? FYI: The bold text provides explanatio

Edgar Allan Poe ?? ??The Fall of the House of Usher?
FYI: The bold text provides explanation/notes to help you as you move through the story.
1. What two meanings can the word ??house? have in the title of the story? 
Poe has been called ??the father of the modern short story? because he was the first to define it as a distinct literary form. He developed a theory of the construction of a tale. Poe wrote:
A skillful literary artist has constructed a tale. If wise, he has not fashioned
his thoughts to accommodate his incidents; but having conceived, with 
deliberate care, a certain unique or single effect to be wrought out, he then 
invents such incidents ?? he then combines such events as may best aid him 
in establishing this preconceived effect. If his very initial sentence tend not 
to the out bringing of this effect, then he has failed in his first step. 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. 
Keep this idea of Poe??s in mind as you read this story. Poe believed that the author of a well-crafted story should first determine the effect he wants his story to have. Poe was the master at the creation of a singular effect ?? usually one of horror, fear, or the fantastic.
3. The next two paragraphs describe Roderick Usher, and Poe gives an even more 
detailed description on pp. 751-752 as the narrator meets Roderick (paragraph 
beginning, ??Upon my entrance, Usher arose . . . .?). Write a brief physical description
of Roderick. What is his malady? To what is he ??a bounden slave?? (p. 752) What is 
the purpose of the narrator??s visit? 
If you gave question #1 some thought, you probably see that there is some connection between Roderick Usher and the house of Usher. The two will decay together, just as they will fall together. In fact, on p. 753 in the paragraph beginning ??I learned, moreover, . . . ,? the narrator tells us that Roderick was ??enchained by certain superstitious impressions in regard to the dwelling which he tenanted, and whence, for many years, he had never ventured forth . . . .? Roderick believes himself united to the house, which has laid claim to him. Its influence over his spirit not only makes it impossible for him to leave the house, it has also brought about his malady. The description of the interior of the Usher mansion intensifies the impression of gloom and decay given by the outside. Roderick??s studio is reached ??through many dark and intricate passages?; this fact indicates that his mind and personality are dark and complex ?? not easily understood. Roderick and the mansion are directly tied together. Keep this in mind as you read. 
The next few paragraphs summarize Roderick??s pastimes. He plays ??long improvised dirges,? his paintings are described as ??phantasmagoric conceptions,? and the books he reads are occult and fantastic. Notice how consistent Poe is in his crafting of this protagonist. 
5. The poem ??The Haunted Palace? is one that we could explore in detail, but the 
meaning behind it is fairly simple. 
a. What do the first four stanzas describe? List some of the pleasant images in
these stanzas (greenest of valleys, radiant palace, etc.). How do the ??spirits?
move in stanza III?
b. What happens to the kingdom in stanzas V and VI? How do the ??vast forms?
move now?
c. If the palace stands for the human mind, what does the poem mean?
6. What is Roderick??s manner in the days following Madeline??s burial?
7.  Carefully read the paragraph that begins ??The impetuous fury of the entering gust . . ? and to enjoy Poe??s beautiful language in that paragraph. What one image stands out to you and why? An image is simply a sight or sound expressed in writing. Feel free to look up words to help you write a good interpretation. 
8. At this point, Poe places a story within the story. In my opinion, Poe??s crafting of the 
story is brilliant here. To comfort Roderick, the narrator reads to him from The Mad 
Trist, a story Poe invented for his purposes here in the story. Notice how the events of 
the story correspond to the actual events in the Usher mansion on this particular night. 
I am going to summarize what happens in the narrator??s reading. I want you to write 
what is actually taking place in the Usher mansion as he reads. Also, describe 
Roderick??s state of mind and his reactions at each point in the story.
Mad Trist: Ethelred breaks into the home of the hermit ?? he ??crack, and ripped, 
and tore all asunder? the door of the dwelling.
Usher mansion / Roderick’s reaction: ___________________________________
Mad Trist: Ethelred finds a dragon within and strikes it with his mace. The 
dragon makes ??a shriek so horrid and harsh, and withal so piercing,? that Ethelred 
has to cover his ears from the dreadful noise.
Usher mansion / Roderick’s reaction: ___________________________________
Mad Trist: Ethelred, who has killed the dragon, reaches for the shield, which falls 
at his feet on the floor, ??with a mighty great and terrible ringing sound.?
Usher mansion / Roderick’s reaction: ___________________________________
9. What does the reader discover that Roderick has done to Madeline?
10. The final two paragraphs describe the two ??falls? of the Usher house. Write a brief 
description of the fall of Roderick and the fall of the mansion.

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