The narrator in "The Fall of the House of Usher" says that he is visiting Usher to help to cure or alleviate his malady of spirits, but do we have any clues that indicate the narrator's own need...

The narrator in "The Fall of the House of Usher" says that he is visiting Usher to help to cure or alleviate his malady of spirits, but do we have any clues that indicate the narrator's own need for such a cure?

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mattbuckley | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Assistant Educator

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In the classic short story "The Fall of the House of Usher" by Edgar Allan Poe, the unnamed narrator tells us that he is going to visit his old boyhood friend Roderick Usher in an attempt to cheer him. However, we see from the beginning of the story, through the narrator's descriptions and mood, the same sort of unhappy depressed sense of being at work in the environment around the House of Usher.

The story begins with the narrator telling us about the setting and house. He draws a picture that is most gloomy and depressed. This is before he has even stepped foot in the house or met his friend Usher. It may be speculated that this depressed and gloomy nature resides in him from the start.

He states that it was on "a dull, dark, and soundless day in the autumn of the year, when the clouds hung oppressively low in the heavens" that he took his trip. He continues to say that upon his "first glimpse of the building, a sense of insufferable gloom pervaded [his] spirit." This may suggest that the narrator already has a movement toward the unhappy depression and gloom that he is being called to alleviate. The description of the day is certainly focused on a possible dread as "the clouds hung oppressively low in the heavens."

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