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

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Consider that the "Mad Trist" narrative parallels the actual sounds in the house in "The Fall of the House of Usher." Do the characters fall victim to self-fulfilling prophecies?

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Edgar Allan Poe uses the Mad Trist narrative to provide the narrator with a means of soothing the agitated Roderick as well as offering the reader insights into the narrator’s frame of mind. It is important to recall that the entire story is presented by the narrator, so the reader has no way of knowing if any of the events he mentions actually occurred. Several elements of the romance parallel those in the narrator’s tale, while others foreshadow events yet to come. The oral quality of the narrative and its relationship to sound is very important, as up to that point, the sense of hearing has begun to play a more significant role, while earlier in the story visual impressions have been predominant. Sound, especially Roderick’s voice, had strengthened the narrator’s own dark mood and his conviction in his friend’s distress. By the time he reads the story, the narrator has also begun to discern soft noises that have no apparent origin. Rather than a prophecy of an actual event, we...

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