The Fall of the House of Usher

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The Fall of the House of Usher is a short story written by Edgar Allan Poe and first published in 1839. In it, the narrator has been requested to meet his boyhood friend, Roderick Usher. Usher has inherited his family's estate, and lives there with his sister. Both have fallen ill with a sort strange depression and malaise, and Usher believes seeing his old friend will cheer him up, but things become far worse.

I read this story after buying a collection of classic American short stories. It was the first short story of Poe's that I had read. I finished it in 2016, but didn't care much for it, however, I was impressed enough by it to decide to give Poe's work more attention. I re-read it in 2017 and enjoyed it more, but I still don't think it's anything amazing.

Status

I do not own this book, but I have read it and listened to an audio book recording.

Review

Good

  • I found it interesting how Roderick Usher's symptoms, though they're considered rare and unusual at the time, are now well-documented and treatable by psychologists. Hyperesthesia, anxiety, and depression come readily to mind.
  • The story is a pioneer of the haunted house and buried-alive tropes that have since become common.
  • The ending is a bit over-the-top and unexpected.

Bad

  • In general, I found the story to be a bit dull and slow-moving.
  • I keep wanting the narrator to tell Roderick, "suck it up buttercup."

Ugly

  • Despite being a short story, the word "countenance" is used eight times. I annoyed me.

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