The legendary writers usually exploit human fear of gothic elements and strange happenings in life. Still, some authors like Edgar Allan Poe go beyond the limits of gothic fiction and enter the realm of psychological thrillers. …
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To be specific, psychological thrillers combine gothic elements and human psychology and entertain human minds. Besides, Poe leads the readers towards the secrets hidden inside the layers of human mind. So, Poe’s literary craftsmanship is beyond the scope of traditional mode of storytelling. One can see that Poe’s works help the readers to analyze the problems faced by the characters from a different angle of view. Thesis statement: The Fall of the House of Usher by Edgar Allan Poe can be regarded as a psychological thriller because the same exposes the deep relation between horror and insanity. This essay is broadly divided into: horror, insanity, and the relationship between horror and insanity. Horror: One can see that the author consciously links the main theme with the element of horror. To be specific, Roderick Usher’s dwelling place itself is the most important aspect of horror in the short story. The geographical location of the house in a remote area, added with strangeness, forces the readers to feel the element of horror. On the other side, Roderick Usher’s strange behavior and his warm relationship with the narrator creates doubt in the minds of the readers. But the sudden twist in the story, related to the strange incidents at Roderick Usher’s dwelling place, leads the readers towards an illusionary world of horror. Still, the narrator tries to be cordial with Roderick Usher and his sister. But this does not help Roderick Usher to maintain his emotional equilibrium. On the other side, Madeline’s fate as the victim to her brother’s hallucination adds the element of horror to the plot. Kirsten Hinzpeter states that, “Madeleine’s illness which stuns even the physicians would additionally be a source of terror” (60). At the same time, Poe provides ample importance to unexpected events in the short-story. This unexpectedness, added with gothic setting, accelerates the free flow of the element of horror in the work. In short, the author’s interest in abnormal psychology results in the escalation of the element of horror in the work as a whole. Insanity: Insanity is another element in the short-story that leads the readers to suspect the real aim of the main characters. For instance, the narrator’s decision to visit a family infested with insanity is really suspicious. In this stage, the readers may suspect the narrator as an insane individual. Roderick Usher tries to keep himself as a normal person, but fails to do the same. For example, he tries to forget his illness by immersing himself in music and painting. He does not try to seek sympathy from others, but seeks help from his close friend. Still, his real aim by inviting his friend is ambiguous because he is totally abnormal in his behavior. Roderick Usher does not like to socialize with others in his locality. He leads a secluded life within the interiors of his home. This proves that Roderick Usher is aware of the problem of lunacy faced by his sister and him. Dawn B. Sova states that, “The dilemma faced by the romantic artist is represented by Roderick, who effectively plunges into madness when he leaves the real world behind in his search for the sublime” (69). But his sister is not an active participant in the story line. In the short-story, she is presented as an individual who is dead. One can guess that Roderick Usher killed his sister and is trying to cover his crime. This ambiguity and hallucination related to the element of insanity leads the readers towards the realms of abnormal psychology. So, one can see that the element of insanity adds strangeness to the main theme of the short-story. Relationship: horror and insanity: The author links the elements of horror and insanity in the short-story to create logical balance to the plot. For instance,
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Poe’s fiction celebrates both the hyper-rationality of the detective and the inability of philosophy to account for the perverse”. Poe never did get much money for his writing during his life, even though he held several editorial positions.
One of the most important characters in the story is that of the House of Usher, that is, the building. This is important as there is a continuance of a gothic tradition in this which looks at the effects of architecture on the human mind.
Poe is a difficult writer in the sense that sometimes he reaches the heights of imagination, throwing the readers minds into an indefinable dilemma with utmost curiosity to know the rest. The tale can be considered as Poe’s exploration and understanding of the self in his own vision.
Given Roderick Usher's moribund mind, the grounds and the house can only be expected to produce a disconcerting effect on the viewer. The house is haunted, not by the dead, but by the barely-living. Poe's depiction of a crumbling world introduces the fragile remnants of the Usher family and foreshadows their inescapable demise.
(Thomson, 6) Poe’s The Fall of the House of Usher was first published in 1839 in Burton’s Gentlemen’s Magazine. (Baym/Poe, 1553) The Tell-Tale Heart was first published in The Pioneer in 1943. (Baym/Poe,
Setting is the most characteristic element of the Gothic fiction which normally includes dusty halls, shadowy landscapes, and whispering people and the stories by Poe illustrate the significance of setting as a Gothic element. For example, Poe begins with an
Poe contrasts this with the concept that family always leads to loss and the incapability of holding onto the family unit. The presentation that Poe gives about the family ultimately leads to the idea of loss and death of the family. The loss and death of the family is one that Poe describes not only with death, but also how this leads to bondage.
The Narrator labels the Usher family`s weird qualities-that is the family has never put forth enduring branches and the family laying on a single line of descent. The insinuation is that, the Usher family practices incest as norm. Madeline and
The story begins with the words of a first-person narrator but readers do not know his name. The only information readers possess is the fact that the Narrator is a friend of Roderick Usher, the main character in the story. Readers may have an impression that narrator is just a tool to depict Roderick Usher and his sister.
Consequently, in a bid to educate and inform people of these effects, Poe writes about Usher. He reveals how social isolation affected this character’s brain leading to various effects and mental problems.
B. In his book
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