What is the conflict in "The Fall of the House of Usher" by Edgar Allan Poe

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writergal06 | Teacher | (Level 2) Associate Educator

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There are several conflicts in "The Fall of the House of Usher." First, there is the internal conflict that Roderick Usher is experiencing. He is losing his mind and his health, and he knows that his paranoia is growing. As the story progresses, Roderick is also struggling with the knowledge that he has essentially buried his sister alive, and he is waiting for her to emerge. This conflict between Roderick and Madeline is the main external struggle. Madeline's return is the end of both Roderick and Madeline, thus bringing the family Usher to an end.

These two conflicts are mirrored in the natural conflict seen in the short story. The weather is extremely significant in the story. As Roderick progressively loses the battle with himself and his sister, the weather progressively grows more and more severe, battering the already crumbling house. Just as Roderick loses his battle, and both he and Madeline die in the end, the house loses its conflict with the weather and literally falls. Poe effectively concludes with both the literal and figurative "houses" of Usher falling.


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