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The Fall of the House of Usher- Essay

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The Fall of the House of Usher- Essay Discuss how Poe creates an effective atmosphere in the opening extract of the story "The Fall of the House of Usher," written by Edgar Allan Poe in 1839, is regarded as an early and supreme example of the Gothic horror story, though Poe ascribed the term "arabesque" to this and other similar works, a term that he felt best described its flowery, ornate prose. In place of a moral, Poe creates a mood-terror, in this case- through his use of language and imagery, which is especially evident in this opening extract. ...read more.


The personification and description through layers of images of the house immediately stirs up in the narrator "a sense of insufferable gloom," and it is described as having "bleak walls," "vacant eye-like windows," and "ghastly tree stems". This diction is extremely descriptive, with an abundance of negative connotations, and evocations of ominous gloom that 'seeps' into the narrator's, and reader's consciousness. This atmosphere initiates a sense of foreboding and depression, even before anything concrete has physically occurred, thus suggesting that the tone of melancholy and gloom is merely inherent in the narrator's mind. This reveals an element of his characterisation, a sense of ambiguity and of a capacity for acute analysis. ...read more.


For example, "That half-pleasurable, because poetic, sentiment". This shows a confused diction, which may convey an already confused state of mind in the narrator. A sense of pace is induced from the very first line, with the alliteration of the cold, hard 'd' sounds: "during the dull, dark, and soundless day". This suggests a tone of bitterness from the narrator and reinforces the sense of foreboding in the reader. The same effect is achieved through the use of sibilance when describing the scene before him: "There was an iciness, a sinking, a sickening of the heart" Therefore, through the use of complex figurative language, layers of imagery and characterisation, Poe creates an atmosphere of foreboding and gloominess, and a psychologically intense situation in the opening of the story, setting the scene for later events. ...read more.

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