The Fall of the House of Usher Questions and Answers
by Edgar Allan Poe

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Why does Roderick temporarily keep Madeline's body in the house after her death in "The Fall of the House of Usher"?    

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There are a few possible answers as to why Roderick Usher keeps the body of his presumably dead sister Madeline in the house after her death.

The first and most obvious reason would be the nature of Madeline's medical condition. In the story, the narrator says,

The brother had been led to his resolution (so he told me) by consideration of the unusual character of the malady of the deceased, of certain obtrusive and eager inquiries on the part of her medical men, and of the remote and exposed situation of the burial-ground of the family. I will not deny that when I called to mind the sinister countenance of the person whom I met upon the stair case, on the day of my arrival at the house, I had no desire to oppose what I regarded as at best but a harmless, and by no means an unnatural, precaution.

This paragraph gives us a few reasons for Roderick's decision, chief among them "the unusual character of the malady of the deceased." Madeline's illness can make her appear to be dead when she is still...

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