Analysis Pages

Quotes in The Fall of the House of Usher

Quotes Examples in The Fall of the House of Usher:

The Fall of the House of Usher

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"Bending closely over him, I at length drank in the hideous import of his words...."   (The Fall of the House of Usher)

In this evocative and bizarre passage, the narrator metaphorically drinks in Roderick’s utterances. Poe hinges the metaphor on the word “import,” which carries a double meaning. At the surface, “import” refers to the meaning or significance of a statement. “Import” also refers to a commodity that has been imported from another country. Thus we encounter the image of the narrator drinking Roderick’s words as if they were wine of some French vintage.

"I shall ever bear about me a memory of the many solemn hours I thus spent alone with the master of the House of Usher...."   (The Fall of the House of Usher)

Careful readers may note the inclusion of the word “alone” in this statement. While the narrator and Roderick Usher are together, this word emphasizes the isolation and loneliness present within the house. The pervasive loneliness of the narrator’s time in the House of Usher compounds with the demeanor of his friend Roderick and the mysterious malady of Madeline to add to the fearful atmosphere.

"I feel that the period will sooner or later arrive when I must abandon life and reason together, in some struggle with the grim phantasm, FEAR.”..."   (The Fall of the House of Usher)

In his “Philosophy of Composition,” Poe stated that the purpose of art and story is to create a singular emotion. Here, the full-caps emphasis on “FEAR” emphasizes that it’s the primary feeling Poe is attempting to evoke in this story. Notice how the narrator crafts his struggle around abandoning life and reason. Isolation and madness are consistent themes in Gothic literature, and “The Fall of the House of Usher” is no exception.

"I know not how it was—but, with the first glimpse of the building, a sense of insufferable gloom pervaded my spirit...."   (The Fall of the House of Usher)

In this famous quote, the narrator looks upon the House of Usher and immediately feels “a sense of insufferable gloom.” The house itself serves as a symbol for the family that lives within it, nearly becoming a character itself—a popular aspect of Gothic literature. The house fills the narrator with horror, its presence elevating events in the story towards their frightful climax.

"I had been passing alone, on horseback, through a singularly dreary tract of country; and at length found myself, as the shades of the evening drew on, within view of the melancholy House of Usher...."   (The Fall of the House of Usher)

Two adjectives in this line characterize the tone and the nature of the House of Usher: “dreary” and “melancholy.” The adjective dreary refers to something which has listlessness and discouragement, and which lacks anything to give cheer or comfort. The adjective “melancholy” refers to something which has an inclination to sadness, gloominess, or mournfulness. That the road to the House of Usher and the house itself are introduced as dreary and melancholy, respectively, firmly establishes the tone of this Gothic tale by emphasizing the lonely, sad environment in which the Ushers live.

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