"The Fall of the House of Usher" Summary

This Storyboard That activity is part of the lesson plans for The Fall of the House of Usher


The Fall of the House of Usher Summary

Example



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Activity Overview


A common use for Storyboard That is to help students create a plot diagram of the events from a story. Not only is this a great way to teach the parts of the plot, but it reinforces major events and help students develop greater understanding of literary structures.

Students can create a storyboard capturing the narrative arc in a work with a six-cell storyboard containing the major parts of the plot diagram. For each cell, have students create a scene that follows the story in sequence using: Exposition, Conflict, Rising Action, Climax, Falling Action, and Resolution.


Plot Diagram
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The Fall of the House of Usher Plot Diagram Example

Exposition

The narrator arrives by horseback at the House of Usher. Roderick Usher wrote a letter to the narrator to come and visit him for a short time to help him overcome an agitation of his soul that he has been experiencing. The narrator observes that house seems sickly, and Usher himself is pale and sickly. The state of the house seems to be coinciding with the state of Roderick Usher.


Conflict

Usher reveals that his twin sister Madeline is dying. She passes a few weeks later, and Usher decides to keep her body in a vault in one of the walls while he makes plans for her burial. He also wants to protect her from being studied by the doctors. The narrator notices that Madeline’s cheeks and chest are still flushed. Usher’s appearance and demeanor worsen after Madeline’s death.


Rising Action

Shortly after Madeline was placed in the vault, the narrator begins to hear strange noises in the house. One night, in the middle of a terrible storm, Usher comes to the narrator’s bed chamber and they open the window to a terrifying atmosphere with low-hanging clouds and fog that surround the house. The narrator begins to read to Usher to calm him down.


Climax

As the narrator reads through the story, the sounds he describes in the story begin to echo in the house. When he reaches the point where Ethelred, the hero, slays the dragon, there is a scream in the house. Usher tips over his chair and begins rocking back and forth. Usher whispers that he’s been hearing sounds from his sister’s coffin and he fears he might have buried her alive. The door flies open, and Madeline is standing there, covered in blood.


Falling Action

Madeline leaps upon Roderick and dies. Roderick also dies, likely from shock and fear. The narrator flees the house.


Resolution

As the narrator watches, he sees the house collapse and disappear into the ethereal fog and waters. Eventually, the house is completely gone.



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Template and Class Instructions

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Student Instructions

Create a visual plot diagram of "The Fall of the House of Usher".


  1. Separate the story into the Exposition, Conflict, Rising Action, Climax, Falling Action, and Resolution.
  2. Create an image that represents an important moment or set of events for each of the story components.
  3. Write a description of each of the steps in the plot diagram.

Plot Diagram Template

Template


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