What is the significance of the house in the story "The Fall of the House of Usher" by Edgar Allan Poe?

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accessteacher | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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One of the important aspects of the house in this story is the way that it functions as such a vital symbol of Roderick and Madeline Usher themselves and how it is suggested that the house and the last Usher members are linked in some kind of mysterious bond that means that the death of the members of the House of Usher results in the destruction of the house. It is important to realise how Poe creates this supernatural link. Note how the house is described when the narrator finally reaches the gloomy and depressing scene that awaits him:

In this there was much that reminded me of the specious totality of old wood-work which has rotted for long years in some neglected vault, with no disturbance from the breath of the external air. 

We are presented with a house that is so incredibly old and ancient that it is slowly rotting and falling apart, just like Roderick and Madeline are clearly rotting and falling apart psychologically and healthwise. The death of these two characters results in the "death" of the house and the wiping out of any trace of the House of Usher on the earth. The Gothic importance of this setting is thus stressed through the link that is created between the house and Roderick and Madeline.


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