Poe's Fall of The House of Usher Essay: A Psychological Piece

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The Fall of the House of Usher as a Psychological Piece This essay examines "The Fall of the House of Usher" from the viewpoint that none of the events really happened -- or if they did, were exaggerated by the fear felt by the characters. The essay proposes that the action took place in the mind of the narrator and discusses the dream imagery present in the story and how this supports this theory. While discussing "The Fall of the House of Usher," Thompson investigates the idea that the story is not really a truthful tale - that is, a re-telling of events that the narrator experienced - but is rather the result of a "mutual hysteria of the narrator and Roderick Usher." Basically, he asserts that the narrator and…show more content…
The house splits and sinks into the tarn. Thompson points out that in the story, there is a passage that mentions the presence of "gunpowder or 'some other highly combustible substance.'" Therefore, even if the house really did disappear, there is a logical explanation for it: it blew up and disintegrated in the blaze caused by the lightening that ignited the gunpowder. Next Thompson discusses the dream imagery that is present in the story. Images of "sleep, water, and descent" appear throughout the piece, which are symbols of the subconscious. Poe may be hinting to his readers that this is all taking place in the mind of the narrator. Thompson claims this dream-state is best shown in the return of Madeline from the grave. He believes that if Madeline were as frail and weak as she is described, then how could she have overcome the numerous large obstacles (iron doors, screwed down coffin lids)? The fact that the coffin was buried in a tomb directly beneath the narrator's own "sleeping compartment" just pushes the dream/sub-conscious idea even further. Thompson closes his discussion by reminding us that the narrator is certainly not
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