Evocation of Fear in the Fall of House of Usher

In: English and Literature

Submitted By katie326
Words 2196
Pages 9
Katie Valdesuso
November 30, 2010
ENGL 439
Prof. Allan R. Life

The Evocation of Terror in Edgar Allan Poe’s The Fall of the House of Usher In his Philosophy of Composition, Edgar Allan Poe informs us that he begins writing with “the consideration of an effect” (430). Most of Poe’s poetry and fiction exemplifies his assertion that a preconceived effect upon a reader is undoubtedly fundamental to his creative work. Poe’s tales of terror in particular epitomize the supremacy of his craft in that each component of his narrative strategy functions to achieve the final effect of generating unmitigated terror in his readers. Focusing primarily on The Fall of the House of Usher, I argue that Poe employs a preconceived narrative strategy that ultimately functions to evoke terror; I assert that Poe elicits fear to challenge us to reexamine out perceptions of ostensibly impossible circumstances and recognize the limits of our intellect. I will first examine the aspects of Poe’s narrative style that culminate to achieve his desired effect of the evocation of terror. I will then analyze the narrator’s response to this evocation of terror and how this emergent response elicits fear in the reader. Last, I will illustrate how the narrator’s evolving response is emulated in the style through which the tale is narrated. In The Fall of the House of Usher, Poe tactically exploits a first person narrator, setting, imagery, and tone to achieve a “unity of effect,” the aforethought effect of which is terror. The narrator in Usher acts as the primary medium through which the reader views, understands, and contemplates the events of the tale, thus the narrator and his position in the story warrant further investigation. The unnamed narrator in Usher speaks from a first person perspective. The first-person narration stimulates and heightens the preeminent value of his fiction,…...

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