The summary of The Fall of the House of Usher Essay

This essay has a total of 1222 words and 6 pages.

The summary of The Fall of the House of Usher

The Narrator had received a letter from a boyhood acquaintance, Roderick Usher, begging
that he come to him "posthaste." Usher had written to explain that he was suffering from a
terrible mental and bodily illness, and longed for the companionship of "his only personal
friend." The plea seemed so heartfelt that the Narrator immediately set out for the Usher
ancestral home.


Approaching the ivy-covered, decaying old house, the Narrator was struck b y an
overwhelming sense of gloom which seemed to envelop the estate. The very sight of the
manor caused within him "an illness, a sickening of the heart, an unredeemed dreariness."
But even though the"eye-like" windows of the mansion seemed to be staring at him, he
managed to swallow his fear and continue in his carriage up the path to the door. As he
rode, he tried to recall Roderick Usher as he had once known him; years had passed since
they had last met. He remembered his old friend as an extremely reserved fellow, quite
handsome but possessing an eerie, morbid demeanor. Roderick's family was noted for its
particular musical genius - and for the fact that no new branch of the family had ever
been generated. For centuries, the title of the estate had passed directly from father to
son, so that the term "House of Usher" had come to refer both to the family and to the
mansion. Sadly, though, Roderick was the last surviving male issue of the Usher clan.


Finally, the carriage crossed over the creaking moat bridge to the door, and a servant
admitted the Narrator. He was led through intricate passageways and past hung armored
trophies to Roderick Usher's inner chamber, a sorrowful room where sunlight had never
entered.


Usher himself looked equally shut in, almost terrifying: pallid skin like that of a
corpse, lustrous eyes, and long hair that seemed to float about his head. Moreover, he was
plagued by a kind of sullen, intense, nervous agitation, similar to that of a drug-addict
experiencing withdrawal. The list of his complaints was dismaying:


He suffered much from a morbid acuteness of the senses; the most insipid food was alone
endurable; he could wear only garments of a certain texture; the odors of all flowers were
oppressive; his eyes were tortured even by faint light; and there were but peculiar
sounds, and these from stringed instruments, which did not inspire him with horror.


But Usher wasn't alone in the house the Narrator caught a fleeting glimpse of his friend's
twin sister, Madeline, who bore an astonishing resemblance to Roderick. Additionally, it
became evident that the brother and sister shared an eerie, almost supernatural,
sympathetic bond. Roderick could sense just what Madeline was feeling, and she in turn
could read his every thought. Pathetically, though, beloved Madeline was grievously ill, a
"gradual wasting away of the person" that was beyond the powers of physicians to cure. On
the very night of the Narrator's arrival, Madeline was confined to bed; he never again saw
her alive.


For weeks the Narrator tried to distract his depressed friend. They talked, painted, and
read together. Usher himself even played the guitar. Once he improvised a wildly horrible
ballad about a noble castle invaded by demons - a song which finally convinced the
Narrator that Usher had gone mad. During this time, the two former schoolmates discussed
their opinions on various matters. One discussion was especially intense: Usher believed
that all matter, even inanimate objects, possessed some measure of intelligence; therefore
the very stones of his house, he contended, were in essence alive. Indeed, he had long
felt that the entire estate, with its dark atmosphere and personality, had,"moulded the
destinies of his family" and made him what he was.


Then one day Usher announced to his friend that Madeline was "no more," and that he
intended to entomb her body in the house's dungeon rather than bury it. The two carried
Madeline's encoffined corpse to the grim and moss-covered underground catacombs and laid
it in a vault. There they unscrewed the coffin and lifted the lid. Again startled by the
dead sister's resemblance to her brother, the Narrator was even more shocked to note a
Continues for 3 more pages >>