Book Review: The Fall of the House of Usher by Edgar Allan Poe
This is a guest post by James Hutton
Itching for a little Edgar Allan Poe? If you are, then you should definitely check out “The Fall of the House of Usher.” For starters, the full-text is free online
—and it’s only about 6 pages! If that wasn’t enough to convince you, check out this review by guest poster, James Hutton…
There can be times when we dread seeing old childhood friends later in life. In Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Fall of the House of Usher,” the nameless narrator faces this reality head-on. He has recently received a letter from his old friend Roderick Usher, who has called for his services. The narrator is a physician, and Mr. Usher has called him in the hopes of improving his ailing health. Mr. Usher’s condition is so horrific that when the narrator sees him for the first time he can’t help but describe Roderick’s complexion as cadaverous. There is almost no hope for his old friend.
This sense of hopelessness, fear, and sorrow pervades throughout Poe’s story, and is done to chilling affect. It is almost as if Poe took everything he was describing in this story and twisted it in one way or another. When the narrator begins, he describes his day’s journey to the house as dull and dark, the trees nearby are decayed, while the house’s furniture is comfortless and tattered.
By the time I came to the story’s conclusion, I was unnerved by what Edgar Allan Poe had written, and was surprised with how he had achieved this goal. Rather than utilizing disgusting descriptions of blood or wicked behavior, Poe had conducted a constant assault of bleak language to impact the reader. This was really impressive to me, and I definitely recommend others read this to experience what Poe has done here as well.
James Hutton runs the short story review blog titled “Short Story Addict,” which features a new short story review each day. You can also follow James on Twitter @ShortStoryAdict.