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Edgar Allan Poe

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How does Edgar Allan Poe successfully create an atmosphere of suspense and horror with a hint of the supernatural in his short story The Fall of The House of Usher?

Poe starts the story with a blue and gloomy setting, describing the day as "dull, dark, and soundless" instantly immersing the reader in the narrator's miserable autumn day which is supposed to be a charming and soothing season, but apparently not to him when he arrives at the house of usher.

The narrator is instantly hit with a sense of despair and dread when he glimpses the infamous house, he chooses an interesting way of expressing his feeling stating that he felt "a sinking, a sickening of the heart - an unredeemed dreariness of thought which no goading of the imagination could torture into aught of the sublime"

Poe's choice of language here adds great mystery to this house that makes the reader want to know why is it so terrible? What provoked these horrid feelings in the character? So it was smart of the author to first describe the horrible unbearable feelings that hit him, making the reader anxious and anticipating the house description much to the misery of both the character and the reader.

The description of the characters as well as the house, sets the theme of the supernatural element in the story, the narrator's description and feelings concerning the house sets it more in terms with death and deterioration, rather than a house which would give you shelter regardless its condition, let alone comfort or a goodnight's sleep,

interestingly enough the characters Poe introduces appear to go well with the house and the theme as a whole, which is I suppose death or decay, especially the lady Madeline who appears to be in a trance-like state and acts the way a dead person would, or...wouldn't.

Another part of what makes this dreary gothic story more depressing and suspenseful than it already is, would be its overall vagueness, the author does not specify the date in which the story takes place, we are only provided with a hint of an era, an old-fashioned gothic dreary setting, along with barren landscapes, giving you the feeling that you are as alone as the narrator is, neither we nor the narrator knows why, the narrator does not even know the most fundamental part about his boyhood friend which is the fact that he has a twin sister.

While Poe describes the setting in a dull monotonous style which is surprisingly gripping giving its unusual use of uncommon and difficult words, shifts his writing style with a plot that is bizarre, and unexpected, the narrator does not completely clear his motives for going to the house of usher and that further amplifies the plots vagueness and its blurred lines of what's real and what's not.



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