Imagery: How does Edgar Allan Poe use imagery to further the plot in "The Fall of the House of Usher"? Be sure to consider exposition, complication (rising action), falling action (denuent), and resolution (harmatia).

In "The Fall of the House of Usher," Poe uses the imagery of the house and the tarn to highlight the plot elements of the dying and finally extinguished Usher family line. The fissured, mildewed house exterior reflects the background of the Usher family, while the house's dim, claustrophobic interior mirrors the disturbed mental state of Roderick in the rising action. The collapse of the house into the tarn then symbolizes the story's resolution as the Usher family is extinguished.

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In the long opening descriptive paragraph of "The Fall of the House of Usher," the narrator crosses an isolated, relentlessly bleak landscape marked by a dark lake or tarn to arrive at a mildewed, fissured home. The imagery of the home and its dismal, dreary surroundings reinforces the isolated, incestuous exposition or background story of the Usher family.

Within the house, ebony floors and pointed Gothic windows, as well as a confusing maze of corridors, stairs, and rooms, mirror the crabbed, neurotic mind of the high-strung Roderick Usher. A setting amid discordant music, dismal poetry, and the flickering shadows of a dying sister who eventually is entombed alive reflect the rising action, which is characterized by an increasing sense of horror. This culminates with the bloody Madeline escaping her crypt to die at her brother's feet, his death following immediately after.

The resolution is made clear as the narrator flees the house, leaving inside the corpses of the dead brother and sister....

(The entire section contains 3 answers and 856 words.)

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Last Updated by eNotes Editorial on November 6, 2020