Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Tales: The Fall of the House of Usher


(originally published September 1839 in Burton’s Gentleman’s Magazine)

Roderick Usher is sick and has written to the narrator—a friend from his childhood—for help. Upon arriving at the house, the narrator is struck by its overwhelming creepiness. He finds that Roderick is suffering from great anxiety and a hypersensitivity to sound and light. Roderick's sister, Madeline, is deathly ill and expected to die very soon, and Roderick is a broken man because of it. He and she are twins, and they are the last of the Usher line. No matter what the narrator does, he is not able to help Roderick. One day Roderick announces to the narrator that Madeline is dead, and together the two put her body to rest in a vault beneath the mansion. The problem is, she's not actually dead yet.

Summary written by Taylor Colegrove, May 2011. Title links to the full text of the story.

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