The Fall of the House of Usher Themes, Motifs, and Symbols

The Fall of the House of Usher Themes, Motifs, and Symbols
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The House of Usher Lesson Plans

The Fall of the House of Usher by Edgar Allan Poe

Lesson Plans by Kristy Littlehale

Continuing his tradition of the creepy, weird, and Gothic style, Edgar Allan Poe does not disappoint in this short story about a strange family who finds its end in the most macabre of ways. Likely, the "fall" the title is referring to is both the actual structure of the Usher family’s house, and the fall of the Usher family itself, as both heirs die and end the family name.

The Fall of the House of Usher

Storyboard Description

The Fall of the House of Usher Themes, Motifs, and Symbols

Storyboard Text

  • VBut evil things, in robes of sorrow, Assailed the monarch's high estate;*Ah, let us mourn, for never morrowShall dawn upon him, desolate!)And, round bout his home, the glory that blushed and bloomedIs but a dim-remembered storyOf the old time entombed.
  • The Haunted Palace
  • The crack represents the crack in the foundation of the Usher family, which will come when death separates the twin heirs. The crack is what splits the entire house apart after their deaths, and what brings the house crumbling down into the tarn. The fall of the actual house is also the end of the Usher family line.
  • The mansion is in a state of gloom. The windows resemble vacant eyes; the landscape is decaying; the whole scene gives the narrator a feeling of dread. The House reflects the imminent death of Madeline and the state of her brother Roderick, who knows he is going to lose his twin sister and last connection to their family.
  • Usher recounts a king who lived in a “fair and stately palace.” Eventually, “evil things” assailed the estate, destroying it and the king, leaving only phantoms of happiness behind. Much like Roderick, his family and the mansion were once proud and among the living, but they are being taken over by evil forces of death.
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