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- Decay of surroundings and minds, an aspect of Gothic writing, is seen throughout “The Fall of the House of Usher.” Before entering the house, the narrator noticed “decayed trees” and “gray walls,” suggesting that the state of land has steadily declined (Poe, 1839, p. 690). The “dull, dark,” and “soundless” area creates an eerie atmosphere, common within works from Poe (Poe, 1839, p. 689). The house itself collapses after the death of Roderick and Madeline Usher, representing the inevitable destruction of the house and those who lived there. When the narrator met Roderick Usher, he had undergone a certain decay of the body and mind, with a “cadaverousness of complexion” and “mental condition” that was worsening (Poe, 1839, p. 691, 692). After the burying of Madeline, Roderick’s “ordinary manner… vanished,” and “his ordinary occupations were neglected or forgotten,” which shows the steady deterioration of his mind (Poe, 1839, p. 697). Roderick had been seemingly unstable, and the state of his mind gradually decays up to his death. Madeline exhibited a “gradual wasting away of the person,” as her illness slowly chipped away at the life that she had left (Poe, 1839, p. 693).
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