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Consider that the Mad Trist narrative parallels the actual sounds in the house. Do the...

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nija | Student, Undergraduate | (Level 2) eNoter

Posted December 14, 2008 at 11:44 PM via web

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Consider that the Mad Trist narrative parallels the actual sounds in the house. Do the characters fall victim to self-fulfilling prophecies?

"The Fall of the House of Usher" by Edgar Allan Poe

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Noelle Thompson | High School Teacher | eNotes Employee

Posted December 22, 2008 at 10:38 AM (Answer #1)

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As long as we consider it true that Usher did in fact bury his twin sister alive, then it is safe to say that there is more at work here than a simple self-fulfilling prophesy.  Yes, while the narrator is reading Mad Trist to Usher, he thinks he hears a "cracking and ripping sound," a "screaming or grating sound," and a "distinct, hollow, metallic, and clangorous . . . reverberation."  Are these self-fulfilling prophesies in themselves?  Perhaps.  There is no denying, however, the actual appearance of Madeline with "blood upon her white robes, and the evidence of some bitter struggle upon every portion of her emaciated frame." Could these sounds have been Madeline ripping her burial robes, screaming in terror at being buried alive, and exiting her tomb?  Most certainly! Considering that Madeline has absolutely nothing to do with the recitation of Mad Trist (and the fact that she most likely had no idea it was even being read at all), her appearance, while not exactly proving that the stated coincidences actually happened, proves that there are circumstances here that are beyond the control of both the narrator and of Usher himself.

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