Discussion Questions The Fall of the House of Usher 1. What is the mood at the beginning of the story, and how does Poe create this mood? Gloomy, dark, scary (Gothic)
dull, dark, soundless autumn day clouds hung oppressively alone melancholy (sad) house of Usher 2. Describe the history of the Usher family. What kinds of interests do they have? What kind of people are they? Direct line of descendents Paintings, music Fuseli and
Weber Decorative- tapestries and armorial trophies von 3. Describe Roderick Usher- his appearance, his weaknesses, his attitudes. Has a mental condition cadaverousness- looks
like a dead person Sloppy and unclean- hair grown out, tired Sad- talks about dying and worried about his sister Much different from when he was a What happens in the poem The Haunted Palace? What are the parallels between the poem and the
story of the Ushers? evil things in robes of sorrowUshers grief for himself and his sister hideous throng- wild mind of Usher 5. Which descriptive details of the interior of the house suggest that the narrator has entered a realm
that is quite different from the ordinary world? Always music playing Dream like paintings Difficult to tell the difference between reality and dreams (Fuseli paintings) 6. In what ways is the appearance of both the interior and exterior of the house related to Ushers appearance
and to the condition of his mind? The crack in the wall- his Decayed trees- death mind 7. Poe chose to characterize Roderick and Madeline as twins, not simply as brother and sister. Why do you think he made this choice? He
wants to show a strong bond- both physically (twins) but mentally as well. They are nearly the same person in thought and action When Madeline dies, Roderick fully loses his mind 8. What evidence is there to support the claim of some critics who have argued that Madeline and Roderick are actually physical and mental
components of the same being? Roderick buries Madeline alive He is trying to end/cover up his insanity just as he is trying to end/cover up Madelines life 9. Explain the literal and figurative meanings of the title
The house falls down fissure widened Mighty walls rushing asunder The family is finished Both Roderick and Madeline die
10. How does Roderick Usher die? Fear-Surprise He thinks he has killed Madeline, but then she shows up alive Pg. 309 bore him to the floor a corpse 11. What is Poe trying to say about life? We
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