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In "The Fall of the House of Usher," why does the narrator go to the house?

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gina09 | Student, Grade 10 | eNotes Newbie

Posted May 5, 2009 at 8:29 AM via web

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In "The Fall of the House of Usher," why does the narrator go to the house?

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troutmiller | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Educator

Posted May 6, 2009 at 3:58 AM (Answer #1)

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Roderick Usher was a friend of the narrator's back when they were younger boys.  He had not seen Roderick in years; however, recently he had received a letter from him.  He claimed that he wasn't well at all and that he wanted to see the narrator soon.  The narrator seemed to be his only close, personal friend, so he chose to go see him and perhaps help him if he could.

"The writer spoke of acute bodily illness--of a pitiable mental idiosyncrasy which appressed him--and of an earnest desire to see me, as his best, and indeed his only personal friend."

 

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dymatsuoka | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

Posted April 2, 2008 at 3:15 PM (Answer #1)

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The narrator is going to the House of Usher because he has received a letter from Roderick, of that same family, stating that he has contracted an illness of the mind, and asking that the narrator come to stay with him for awhile.  Although Roderick says that the narrator is his only close friend, the narrator notes that he really doesn't know him very well.  Roderick has always been shy and reserved even amongst those he knows, and in fact, the narrator has not seen him for several years.

The narrator plans to stay for only a few weeks.

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mlsldy3 | Elementary School Teacher | (Level 1) Associate Educator

Posted November 24, 2014 at 3:10 PM (Answer #2)

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The narrator of the story, is going to the house of his childhood friend, Roderick Usher. It has been years since he has seen Usher. Roderick has sent his friend a letter telling him that he has acute body illness of a mental disorder, which is oppressed him. The first lines of the story, set us up for the suspense that follows.

"During the whole of a dull, dark and soundless day in the autumn of the year, when the clouds hung oppressively low in the heavens, I had been passing alone on horseback, through a singularly dreary tract of country: and at length found myself, as the shadows of the evening drew on, within view of the melancholy House of Usher."

The narrator has come to see if there is any help he can do for Usher. He finds that Usher's twin sister, Madeline, is ill, as well. Usher tells his friend that his sister has died, and they need to put her in the family tombs beneath the house. The two men lay her body in the tomb, and the narrator tried to help his friend. He reads to him, and they both hear strange noises. Usher tells his friend that the houses is alive. The narrator thinks this is just his illness talking. The narrator soon finds out the real nature of the house.

This story is the typical Gothic haunted house story, which is so great. Edgar Allan Poe was a true genius at writing stories that stay with us longer after we are done.

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