How does Edgar Allan Poe's use of first person convey the themes of "The Fall of the House of Usher"?

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thanatassa | College Teacher | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

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The use of the first person point of view in Edgar Allan Poe's "The Fall of the House of Usher" is extremely effective because of the way it lets the reader enter into the story. Essentially, there are two main characters involved in the plot action of the story, Roderick Usher and his sister Madeleine. We perceive them through the eyes of a nameless first person narrator, who, in contrast to the Ushers, is portrayed as normal, and serves as a touchstone by which we can judge the events. The generic nature of the narrator (the fact that he doesn't have a name and we don't know much about him) allows the reader to think of the "I" as him or herself and identify with the narrator's reactions. The themes of horror are conveyed via the narrator's reactions to them.