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

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

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In the exposition, Poe describes the house of Usher using imagery that creates a sense of foreboding. As the narrator approaches the house, he notes the "bleak walls" and "vacant eye-like windows" and comments on how gloomy the sight makes him feel. The vegetation is also off-putting; there are "rank sedges" and "decayed trees" that do not suggest healthy, vibrant natural life. The crack in the house itself foreshadows its eventual collapse and makes the reader wonder about its safety for Roderick, Madeline, and the narrator.

The rising action of the story continues to utilize imagery to deepen the incipient horror of Roderick and Madeline's relationship. They are the last descendants of the Usher family, which has come down to its end because of inbreeding. The image the narrator offers is that of a family tree that "had put forth, at no period, any enduring branch." Consequently, Roderick is horrifying looking, with his "cadaverousness of complexion" and large "liquid" and "luminous" eyes.

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