To what extent can we read "The Fall of the House of Usher" as a parody?Is this story a sincere expression of horror, or is Poe simply mocking himself, and the reader?

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enotechris eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The story that the narrator reads to Roderick is entitled "Mad Trist," a parody of a Medieval romance, where a knight meets a hermit who disappears and changes his form into a dragon.  The story is a parody of the story that we the readers are reading, and comes just at the climax of the narration. Certain noises are described in the story while its being read, and as each description is finished, Roderick and the narrator hear the noise--a case where "life imitates art."  During the reading of the story, Madeline, who had been prematurely buried, reappears, and finally dies as she embraces her brother Roderick, who dies as well. Immediately after, the narrator states that Roderick dies as "a victim to the terrors he had anticipated" suggesting that he called into being his own demise. The parody suggested within the story "Mad Trist" serves to not only to mock events in the narration, but increase the horror, as what is written comes to pass. See more at the link:

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The Fall of the House of Usher

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