Mp2 project part 1

Mp2 project part 1

Published on 22 January 2023
Transcript
00:00
During the middle of the 19th century, American authors would write stories to reveal personal or inner struggles of individuals; this is shown through Edgar Allen Poe's short story, "The Fall of the House of Usher," and Nathaniel Hawthorne's novel "The Scarlet Letter."
00:12
The first piece of literature that proves a better understanding of individual conflicts and interactions during the 1830s-50s is Edgar Allen Poe’s short story, “The Fall of the House of Usher.” The story has immensely descriptive imagery and thoughts expressed by the narrator that better solidifies its message to the reader. An example of this is how the narrator describes the house itself telling the reader that
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“I looked upon the scene before me—upon the mere house, and the simple landscape features of the domain—upon the bleak walls—upon the vacant eye-like windows—upon a few rank sedges—and upon a few white trunks of decayed trees—with an utter depression of soul which I can compare to no earthly sensation more properly than to the after-dream of the reveler upon opium—the bitter lapse into every-day life—the hideous dropping off of the veil,” (Poe 1).
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The description of the dilapidated house is designed to make the reader uneasy about what is going to happen as the story progresses. This air of apprehension was deliberately made by Poe to further encapsulate the message of the inevitability of death. It is only a matter of time before the house, a personified version of the entire Usher race, finally dies, and the idea of prolonging something, such as the house of Usher, will only cause it to distort and become horrifying until death once again comes for it. This theme, however, is much less potent if the story is about more than a few characters. If this was a community, each person's opinion would be much less effective instead of one person describing and telling things.
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The personal connection between the narrator and Rodrick Usher is important in this story too, and their interactions and his description of his friend push another theme, one of isolation. When the narrator first meets Rodrick after making it through the house, he describes him to the reader as
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“A cadaverousness of complexion; an eye large, liquid, and luminous beyond comparison; lips somewhat thin and very pallid but of a surpassingly beautiful curve; a nose of a delicate Hebrew model, but with a breadth of nostril unusual in similar formations; a finely molded chin, speaking, in its want of prominence, of a want of moral energy; hair of a more than web-like softness and tenuity;—these features, with an inordinate expansion above the regions of the temple, made up altogether a countenance not easily to be forgotten,” (Poe 4).
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He also speaks of his high sensitivity to many noises, except for more strange sounds like stringed instruments, and his extreme cordiality that he showed when they met again. His illness makes him thin and pale, but some of the more awe striking features like his luminous eye still persists. This all changes with the entombment of Madeline, Rodrick’s twin sister. Rodrick’s appearance and personality declines rapidly as the narrator tries to comfort him with activities; Usher’s manner had evaporated, he seemed to be mindless, his appearance became more ghastly, as his luminous eye dimmed. All of this shows the consequences to isolation, as Usher refuses to cope with Madeline’s “death” he becomes isolated and insane. None of this detail and message could have been made clear if the lens wasn’t made to reflect individual people.