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

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

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When assessing the conflict(s) in a story, it can be helpful to identify its climax, or the moment of the most tension in the text. It can also be a turning point of some kind. In this story, the climax takes place when Madeline Usher emerges from her tomb, still alive (though her brother and the narrator believed she was dead when they interred her) and covered in blood, looking wild and frightful. She approaches her brother and falls, dead, on top of his body. He falls to the floor underneath her and dies in this moment as well.

It's a strange moment that contains a weird intimacy, but these two people have always been close intimates, so to speak: they shared a womb (as twins), and they were also expected to continue the Usher line by having children together before Madeline grew sick. The narrator points out that there are no offshoots on the Usher family tree, and it is, perhaps, this pattern of mating with one's siblings that has caused the illnesses that have corrupted the physical...

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