THE FALL OF THE HOUSE OF USHER

Kimberly Garcia

English 162 W

March 14, 2011

The relationship between Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Fall of the House of Usher” and Tuan’s chapter “Architectural Space and Awareness” is shown with the House of Usher itself and how it confines the characters that set place within it. The claustrophobia of the characters shows the limitation and ghastly effect that the house produces. Leaving the characters only so much to endure.

According to Tuan, “Consider the sense of an “inside” and an “outside,” of intimacy and exposure, or private life and public space. People everywhere recognize these distinctions, but the awareness may be quite vague. Constructed form has the power to heighten the awareness and accentuate, as it were, the difference in emotional temperature between “inside” and “outside”” (Tuan 107) When we approach this idea, we can relate it to the way the narrator of Poe’s “The Fall of the House of Usher” is first introduced to the outside of the house. As he said, “with the first glimpse of the building, a sense of insufferable gloom pervaded my spirit” foreshadowing that it is the house that deteriorates everybody’s mood and health. The narrator’s awareness is vague compared to what is going on inside the house. Although, he soon comes to realize that the private life of Roderick and Madeline reflect the house’s condition.

Both siblings have some sort of problems associated with the house; Madeline’s loss of control for her limbs and Roderick’s constant headaches. Once Madeline dies or so the narrator and Roderick thought, Roderick’s senses become heighten. His fear of hearing things has created a different emotional temperature for our narrator comparing to when he was outside and safe. It is our narrator that allows us to also differentiate “inside” and “outside”. Everything inside the house causes stress, mental paranoia, and deterioration of one’s health. Whereas at the end when the narrator escapes the house, he is safe outside while the house crumbles to the floor. As it would take an outsider to confirm Roderick’s speculations that it was the house causing all the problems.

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