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

The Fall of the House of Usher book cover
Start Your Free Trial

In "The Fall of the House of Usher", how does the crumbling house reflect the theme of insanity in the story?

Expert Answers info

mwestwood eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2006

write16,150 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, History, and Social Sciences

Interestingly, the house of + surname is a phrase often used to represent a prominent family, such as The House of Windsor which indicates the royal family of England.  Also, the "house of --" can mean the mansion belonging the family.  Poe's  double entendre, "The House of Usher," then, can denote either the mansion or the last members of the Usher family.  Thus, the one reflects the other.  As Roderick becomes more and more disturbed over the death of his sister, he wanders through the house.  The narrator, who cannot sleep, notices the atmosphere of dread around him in the house:  "a faintly luminous and distinctly visible gaseous exhalation which hung about and enshrouded the mansion."  Also, the narrator notices a fissure in the wall that previously has not existed.  And, after Roderick has been caught in the final death agonies of his sister, this earlier...

(The entire section contains 2 answers and 446 words.)

Unlock This Answer Now


check Approved by eNotes Editorial

accessteacher eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2009

write13,728 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, Social Sciences, and History

check Approved by eNotes Editorial