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

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In "The Fall of the House of Usher," what do Roderick's paintings and music seem to express?

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Roderick's painting and music seem to express the unbalanced state of his mind. They appear to be outward manifestations of his troubled inward psyche and to express his heightened sensitivity or "unnatural sensations." Roderick plays the guitar, for example, in a "wild," "fantastic" and highly overwrought (with "the highest artificial excitement") way:

 It was, perhaps, the narrow limits to which he thus confined himself upon the guitar which gave birth ... to the fantastic character of his performances. But the fervid facility of his impromptus could not be so accounted for. They must have been, and were, in the notes, as well as in the words of his wild fantasias (for he not unfrequently accompanied himself with rhymed verbal improvisations), the result of that intense mental collectedness and concentration to which I have previously alluded as observable only in particular moments of the highest artificial excitement.

Roderick's paintings are in general "vague" or abstract, and the...

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