The Fall of the House of Usher: Setting In the short story, “The Fall of the Houseof Usher,” by Edgar Allen Poe, setting is used extensively to do many things.
The author uses it to convey ideas, effects, and images.
It isa small crack in “The House of Usher” which the narrator defines as “boththe family and the family mansion.” This foreshadows an event that willruin the house and the family. Thestones represent the individual people of the Usher family, and the entiremansion stands for the whole family.
The “wild inconsistency” makes thereader aware that something later in the story will make the inconsistency”clear or consistent.
Through the setting, Edgar Allan Poe isable to foreshadow events, establish an atmosphere, and reveal charactertraits.
Although the reader may not notice all the numerous devices used,they contribute to giving the story depth.Poe’s meticulouschoice of words creates a very effective atmosphere in the story.Another important way Poe uses the settingis to foreshadow events in the story. There is a “barely perceptible fissure” in the masonry. The narrator says there is a “wildinconsistency between still perfect adaptation.thecrumbling condition of the individual stones.” This is also symbolic.The narratorsays that the Usher mansion had “an atmosphere which had no affinity withthe air of heaven.” It was no where near being beautiful, holy, or clean.He uses descriptive words such as decayed, strange, peculiar, gray, mystic, Gothic, pestilent, dull and sluggish to create the atmosphere.The “white trunksof decayed trees,” the “black and lurid tarn,” and the “vacant, eyelikewindows” contribute to the collective atmosphere of dispair and anguish.This is done with the words black, lurid, decayed, and vacant.He chose every word in every sentence carefully tocreate a gloomy mood.For example, Usher’s house, its windows, bricks,and dungeon are all used to make a dismal atmosphere.Poe’s useof foreshadowing is just enough to clue the reader into what will happen,but not enough to give it away.Character traits are displayed throughhow the setting affects, influences, and reveals the characters.