Native American Women in The Fall of the House of Usher by Edgar Allan Poe

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Mary Rowlandson’s captivity narrative follows the tradition of stories of women from Anglican descents that are seized by Native Americans, a genre that was enormously popular in the US at the turn of the 17th century. A defining work of American literature that presented accounts of Indian barbarity, the gallantry and superiority of white male settlers, and the helplessness of white women in need of protection and rescue. Correspondingly, Madeline Usher, the entombed sister from Edgar Allan Poe’s gothic “The Fall of the House of Usher” is presented as a bawling woman whose identity and voice is unnarratable. Madeline is not only a frightful looking and hysterical woman, but conversely a wailing body from the foundation of the House of Usher whose plight encourages us to deconstruct what else lies beneath the social and cultural foundations on which not merely the house, but the nation itself was built upon. I will use Mary Rowlandson's Narrative of the Captivity and Edgar Allan Poe's short story, "The Fall of the House of Usher" to illustrate how America's physical, ethical, and ideological landscapes have been mapped on in these works, and at the expenditure of, the female body. Juxtaposing The stories of Mary Rowlandson and Madeline Usher, two women, illustrates how whether they are "held captive," "restored," or “put living in the tomb,” continue a state of dependence, subject to communal and discursive creations of female identity and become exemplifications of white

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