The Narrator - Characters, The Fall of the House of Usher Notes | Study The Fall of the House of Usher - Summary and Themes - Novels

Novels: The Narrator - Characters, The Fall of the House of Usher Notes | Study The Fall of the House of Usher - Summary and Themes - Novels

The document The Narrator - Characters, The Fall of the House of Usher Notes | Study The Fall of the House of Usher - Summary and Themes - Novels is a part of the Novels Course The Fall of the House of Usher - Summary and Themes.
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The narrator is an enigmatic character. One way to explain his role is that the narrator’s job is simply to narrate the story. We don’t know his name, which is representative of us knowing nothing about him at all. He really only exists in relation to the Ushers, and that relation is primarily as an outsider.

When the narrator first arrives at the house, he notes several times the isolation and closed-off nature of the Usher family. Their bloodline has no branches, Usher never leaves his house, he and his sister have a special connection, Madeline is Roderick’s only companion. The narrator is on the outside of whatever eerie relationship the Ushers' share. He is also on the outside of the eerie goings-on inside the house of Usher. When Madeline passes by, for example, she doesn’t even notice or acknowledge the narrator’s presence. This could be because she’s too far away, or it could be because the narrator is intentionally being established as an outsider. When Madeline rises from the dead, she again disregards the narrator completely. He doesn’t even really partake in the story; he is unable to affect Usher in any way despite several attempts to cure the man of his melancholy. The narrator basically just watches the tale unfold before his eyes. You can start to see why some people suspect that he is a fictional creation in one of Usher’s stories – see “What’s Up with the Epigraph” for more.

An alternative point of view is that the narrator is significantly more important than just being a narrator. He is Usher's childhood friend and shows an incredible level of compassion towards the entire creepy situation (to agree give Roderick weeks of his life in the first place is pretty interesting, given that he clearly did not feel close to Roderick in the beginning). The fact that Roderick calls on him for help is interesting as his "only personal friend." Perhaps he was reaching out to help himself? Or did he just want an audience for his spookiness? (Again, check out “What’s Up With the Epigraph.”) You can also think about the way Roderick forms a foil to the narrator, which we discuss in “Character Role ID.”

The Narrator Timeline

  • The narrator approaches the house of Usher and finds it gloomy. He notes the fissure running down the middle of the house.
  • He explains that Roderick wrote him a letter asking him to come and help de-gloomify him.
  • He meets Roderick and is struck by his eerie appearance. He sees Madeline briefly.
  • He and Usher try to busy themselves with painting and music and art. The narrator describes some of Usher’s artistic creations.
  • When Usher says that Madeline has died, the narrator helps Usher put her in the underground vault. The narrator finds out that they were twins, and he notes that Madeline looks flushed even though she’s dead.
  • One dark and stormy night, the narrator has trouble sleeping. He and Usher try to pass the night away by reading. Everything he narrates from the book can be heard as sounds coming from the mansion. Usher declares that Madeline was alive when they put her in the tomb, and indeed she shows up at the door and falls on Usher, who dies of terror.
  • The narrator flees the premises and sees the House of Usher crack and sink into the tarn.
The document The Narrator - Characters, The Fall of the House of Usher Notes | Study The Fall of the House of Usher - Summary and Themes - Novels is a part of the Novels Course The Fall of the House of Usher - Summary and Themes.
All you need of Novels at this link: Novels

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