Edgar Allan Poe. Elaine Chen, Penny Lu, Kate Lin and Josephine Liao. Edgar Allan Poe. Poe was born in Boston on January 19, 1809 His parents died before he was three, and shortly afterwards Poe was adopted by John Allan
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Elaine Chen, Penny Lu,
Kate Lin and Josephine Liao
The story begins with the first-person narrator riding on horseback toward the ancient home of his boyhood friend, Roderick Usher. In the opening, the narrator has established an overwhelming atmosphere of dread. The house seems to have collected an evil and diseased atmosphere from the decaying trees and murky ponds around it. The narrator also notices that the structure of the house is solid, and there is a fissurein the front of the building from the roof to ground.
The reason the unnamed narrator rushes to the house of Usher and stays there is that his friend, Roderick, has written him a letter, asking for the narrator's visit. Besides, Roderick mentioned in his letter that he felt bodily and emotionally ill.
The narrator also explains that the Usher family is an ancient clan that never flourished, and only one member of the Usher family survives from generation to generation. When the narrator walks in the house, he finds the inside of the house is as dreary as the outside. He also notes that his friend is paler and less energetic than he once was. Besides, Roderick suffers from nerves and fear because he was also afraid of his own house.
Later on, the narrator sees Roderick’s sister, Madeline, who has taken ill with a mysterious illness. After few days, Madeline dies, and Roderick decides to bury his sister in the vaults in the house. When the narrator helps Roderick put the body in the tomb, he notices that Madeline has rosy cheeks as some do after death.
Over next few days, Roderick becomes even more uneasy. One night, the narrator cannot sleep either, with Roderick knocking on his door, apparently hysterical. He leads the narrator to the window, from where they can see a bright-looking gas all around the house. However, the narrator has used a rational way to explain the phenomenon.
In order to calm Roderick down, the narrator reads the “Mad Trist” to him. As he reads the story, he hears noises that correspond to the description in the book. Although the narrator tries to ignore it; however, the noises becomes more distinct. Moreover, the narrator hears the murmuring of Roderick, and Roderick believes that they have buried his sister alive and she is trying to get out. Suddenly, Roderick yells that his sister is standing behind the door. The wind blows the door open, with his sister really standing in white robes bloodied from her struggle. She falls upon her brother, and Roderick dies of fear eventually. The narrator then flees from the house, and as he does so, the entire house cracks along the break in the frame, with everything crumpling to the ground.
There was an iciness, a sinking, a sickening of the heart —an unredeemed dreariness of thought which no goading of the imagination could torture into aught of the sublime. What was it —I paused to think—what was it that so unnerved me in the contemplation of the House of Usher?” (718, B1534-35)
exercised upon the other [ . . . ] consequent undeviating transmission, from sire to son, of the patrimony with the name, which had, at length, so identified the two as to merge the original title of the estate in the quaint and equivocal appellation of the "House of Usher"—an appellation which seemed to include, [ . . . ] both the family and the family mansion. (719, B1535-36)
countenance not easily to be forgotten. [ …] The silken hair, too, had been suffered to grow all unheeded, and as, in its wild gossamer texture, it floated rather than fell about the face, I could not, even with effort, connect its Arabesque expression with any idea of simple humanity. (720, B1537)
a. A tone that is gloomy, dark and threatening.
b. Events take place must be strange,
melodramatic or evil.
c. Two categories:
(1) The grotesque —refers to more realistic
stories with human interaction.
(2) The arabesque —involves very few people but many ideas, and are frequently in abstract location.
“True!—nervous—very, very dreadfully nervous I had been and am; but will you say that I am mad?”
This grisly story was first published in a magazine called The Pioneer, 1843. It was reprinted twice in Poe’s lifetime but never as part of the collections of his fiction in book form.
It has been adapted for stage, radio, movies, and television. Its combination of action, confessional commentary, and accompanying sounds make it especially suitable for the radio.
In addition, “The Raven” is written backwards.