A critical analysis of “The Fall of the House of Usher” by Edgar Allen Poe.
This paper endeavors to explore the connection between the short story’s tragic heroine, Madeline Usher, and her malady and Poe’s tragic wife, Virginia and the illness that claimed her life. Only in identifying the correlation that exists between these two characters can we properly discern the meaning and portent of “The Fall of the House of Usher” and well appreciate the love Poe felt for his young bride.
“Prior to examining Poe’s literary piece, it is necessary to define the illness that killed Virginia Poe. She died in January 1847 (http://www.watershedonline.ca/literature/Poe/pochronology.html) of tuberculosis. She was only 25 years old. Poe was no stranger to the disease. It had claimed the many people in his life. (Collins, 1994, 2) Aside from Virginia, Poe’s mother, Elizabeth, died of it in 1811 (at 24 years of age). Jane Stith Stanard, the sister of a Poe’s classmate and the inspiration for the first “To Helen” poem, succumbed to the disease in 1824. Poe’s adoptive mother, Frances Allen, died of it in 1829. (http://www.watershedonline.ca/literature/Poe/pochronology.html) Poe lost his older brother, William, to the illness that was made worse by William’s alcoholism.”
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