Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Fall of the House of Usher”

Time for another Poe story, yet again narrated by the late great Christopher Lee

Our narrator begins the story as he approaches the house of his old friend Roderick Usher. As he starts seeing it in front of him, he starts feeling uneasy and a bit scared from the dark and melancholic look of the house. His childhood friend had called for him.

Roderick has been sick for a long time, suffering from many diseases like an “acuteness of the senses,” or hyper-sensitivity to light, sound, taste, and tactile sensations, and was in need of his friend’s help. As he enters the house, he gets introduced to Madeline, Roderick’s sister who Roderick fears will die soon. Like her brother, Madeline is sick as well, suffering from a disease which causes her a lot of seizures. This only brings more grief and pain to him as he fears that he will be the last remaining descendant of the family of Usher.

Sadly, Roderick’s prediction becomes true and after a while his sister dies. With the help of his friend they entomb her body in one of the vaults below the mansion. After that night, they try to normalize themselves and move past the grief but nothing helps. In fact, Roderick only gets worse and that seems to start affecting our unnamed narrator as well which culminates in a very dark and twisted ending which some similarities with The Tell-Tale Heart

Not surprising, this story was a fantastic read. It was dark, suspenseful, thinning the line between sanity and reason and insanity and the unexplained. As expected, the story is masterfully written but somehow it did feel a bit too verbose at some parts.

There is no dull moment in the story and every part of it is crucial to the storyline. Even the title itself which has a double meaning, tells us just what exactly the story is – both the fall of the house itself and the Usher family.

Although I did not enjoy it as much as I enjoyed the first one (which is probably obvious since I am not doing a deep dive on it like I did to the first one) I still loved the story very much. It tackles and mixes a lot of dark and disturbing themes like isolation, claustrophobia, the slow decay of the human mind, grief and my favorite part of both stories so far – the supernatural aspect, or lack there of. Much like in the first one, here we are left alone to decipher if many of the events that happened in the house actually happened or they were just a part of the insanity of our characters. There is even a slight feeling that the brother and sister might have been a bit too close if you catch my drift. Probably another thing that added to the current state of the characters.

Although it is not a very big story it still has so much to unravel and honestly I maybe should have left it for some time in the future when I am more comfortable with Poe’s work since it really felt a lot heavier than his previous story so I can’t really recommend it to another new reader of Poe but I wouldn’t really tell them to skip it either. It might take a few tries to finish it but it is worth it. If not then there is a simplified and animated version of it on YouTube as well.

Final verdict – 8/10

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2 comments

  1. Poe is an expert in crafting mood. From the very first line, you get that sense of decay and doom.

    “It was a dark and soundless day near the end of the year, and clouds were hanging low in the heavens.”

    It was near the end of the year? That cannot be an accident, not for someone as meticulous as Poe. The atmosphere just oozes off the page in a way I rarely see in modern novels.

    Liked by 1 person

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