The Fall of the House of Usher by Edgar Allan Poe

BACKGROUND

This is another horror story by Edgar Allen Poe.

MAIN CHARACTERS

Narrator: He is the main dude of the story.

Roderick Usher: He is good friends with the narrator.

Madeline Usher: She is Rodericks sister. She has some illness and is sick.

PLOT

The narrator gets a letter from Roderick Usher saying that he's having some problems. So the narrator goes to stay in his house for awhile. Roderick has 2 big problems: First off, his sister is sick. Secondly, the Usher family tree is based on incest. His ancestors wanted to keep the Usher name so brothers would have sex with sisters and have kids. Now he has to have sex with his sister to keep the Usher name in the family. His sister is sick and has catalepsy (like epilepsy, her muscles shakes uncontrollably). The narrator tries to help Roderick with his problem. Then Madeline dies. Because she is cataleptic, her body still moves. Roderick puts her in some vault in case she is still alive. One night during a storm Roderick and the narrator hear some weird noises coming from the vault. All of a sudden Madeline (covered in blood because she had escaped from the vault) comes into the bedroom and falls dead. The narrator freaks out and runs out of the house. He turns around and the House of Usher crumbles to the ground.

THINGS TO MAKE YOU LOOK SMART

  • In this story, Poe never flat out says that there is incest going on in the Usher family. It is just insinuated.
  • The house feels like it is alive, like it is possessed by Rodericks ancestors telling him to have sex with his sister. Roderick thinks incest is immoral.