Common Themes In William Faulkner's The Fall Of The House Of Usher

Submitted By maleamanos
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In Edgar Allan Poe's "The Fall of the House of Usher," and William Faulkner's "A Rose for Emily," the reader can identify many common themes among the characters and settings in each story. Through the use of surrealism, allegory, and symbolism, each author develops a short story full of suspense and horror as they depict the tale of two characters who are adhered to tradition, and psychologically bonded to deceased family members. In both stories the main characters are out of touch with reality and forego any changes society puts forth. The homes that are portrayed as well, are personified and play an important role in each storyline. One would interpret death as being the most common theme throughout these pieces, and with the use of descriptive language, both authors certainly get their dark and mysterious messages conveyed quite well. A common theme looming in each story is the aspect of decay, both physically and metaphorically. In Poe's story, the first thing presented to the reader, is the inherent ghostliness of House of Usher. Poe tactically used dark and dreary language to describe the scene at which the unspecified narrator approaches the home. We can assume that the home is eerie and spooky because the narrator himself found the grounds unsettling by stating: "with the first glimpse of the building, a sense of insufferable gloom pervaded my spirit" (21). Poe illustrates this enormous mystical and gothic home which houses a diseased man named Roderick Usher and his sister Madeline. The home's detailed imagery, and its enigmatic presence, greatly contributes to the abnormality of Roderick Usher. Roderick, in need of companionship, calls for the narrator to visit him in his time of need, even though they have not spoken since childhood. We also find out that the Ushers keep to themselves and lack interaction with the outside world. The narrator is kept unnamed, although his purpose seems to chronicle the weirdness of the home and its inhabitants. The era and location at which this home exists is untold as well, however, the element of where and when this story takes place is inferior to the atmosphere of The House of Usher itself. The ethereal glowing cloud that is rendered in the tale, evokes a supernatural element to the home, and to the story. Similar to the eeriness in Poe's House of Usher is the home occupied by Faulkner's character Emily Grierson in "A Rose for Emily". Emily, and her home, are stuck in the southern aristocratic era. Not accepting her father's death, Emily distanced herself from the outside world and refused to let anyone into hers. She keeps to herself, and has a servant do most of her errands. This is illustrated by the one of the many narrators in this story in the passage: "The negro man went in and out with the market basket, but the front door remained closed" (44 ). Her house was a home, but was the least inviting on the block. It had been a monument in the past but no longer impressive to the town. There was a foul odor stemming from inside the home, making everyone speculate what might be in there. If you walked by the home, the townspeople could see the dust clouds, and the antique wood decaying. It was a source of amusement and a way for them to project their wild imaginations, by invading her privacy. "The house filled with dust and shadows."(45) portrays this imagery and speculation. Both stories have a lingering aura of death with each description of the characters homes, focusing on the importance of the decaying mansions which symbolizes the demise of each family. Emily's deteriorating house represents the ending of the old south, something she refuses to let go of. In the Ushers' case, the home symbolizes the fact that Roderick and sister are the last remnants of his family's existence. Another Idea that comes across both tales, is that there is a misguided desire for containment and control. In the House of Usher, Roderick and his sister are the last of the Usher