illustration of a dark, menacing cracked house with large, red eyes looking through the windows

The Fall of the House of Usher

by Edgar Allan Poe

Start Free Trial

Explain who the narrator is and his presence in The Fall of the House of Usher.

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

The narrator of the The Fall of the House of Usher by Edgar Allen Poe is an unnamed character who visits the house after his childhood friend, Roderick Usher, sends a letter asking for the narrator's assistance, as Roderick is feeling physically and emotionally ill. The narrator responds to his friend's request for help and visits the house which he finds to be of a dark and evil atmosphere. However, the narrator is not prone to believing in the supernatural and attempts to rationally explain the evil presence that permeates the very walls of the house. As the story progresses, however, the narrator begins to lose his sanity and sense of grounding as tragedy befalls the house with the death of Roderick Usher's twin sister and Roderick's subsequent death. The narrator escapes as the house crumbles to pieces. The narrator's back story and personality is not very developed. His vagueness of character could be correlated to how his character represents reason, which is unable to prevail, in a house that is figuratively and literally crumbling around him.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

"The Fall of the House of Usher" is told from the point of view of the unnamed narrator, who, being skeptical and rational, doesn't want to believe that there are supernatural causes to what is happening around him. Although he tries to tell the reader that Roderick's anxiety and nervousness are simply symptoms of the latter's mental anguish, the narrator, and therefore the reader, becomes increasingly disturbed as the story progresses. By telling the story from the point of view of a skeptic rather than a believer, Poe increases the suspense as well as the emotional impact of the story's ending.

See eNotes Ad-Free

Start your 48-hour free trial to get access to more than 30,000 additional guides and more than 350,000 Homework Help questions answered by our experts.

Get 48 Hours Free Access
Approved by eNotes Editorial Team