Discuss the ending of "The Fall of the House of Usher." What does it imply?

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iandavidclark3 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

At the end of Edgar Allan Poe's "The Fall of the House of Usher," both Roderick and his sister Madeline, the last of the Usher family, are dead. More specifically, Madeline escapes from her tomb deep in the vaults of the house and locks her brother in a deadly embrace that results in the deaths of both siblings. It also motivates the narrator of the story to flee from the home (and its apparently crazy former inhabitants), whereupon he witnesses the house of the Usher family ruinously tearing itself in two.

In short, the ending of the story implies the destruction of the House of Usher in two ways. On a literal level, the actual house of the family (which potentially exerted a sinister will over the members of the family) is in ruins. On a more subtle level, the Usher family (or "house," as prominent families were sometimes called) has just gone extinct after generations of incestuous relationships. As such, at the end of the story we're not only witnessing the destruction of a physical house but also the disintegration of a familial line that has become weakened by incest. 

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The Fall of the House of Usher

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