The Fall of the House of Usher
Edgar Allan Poe
• Have you ever gone into a place that made
you uneasy?
• Have you ever gotten back in touch with
someone you hadn’t heard from in a long time
and discovered your friend had changed?
• Have you ever been so conflicted that you
questioned your sanity?
• Dracula, Psycho,
• What do these
Jurassic Park
movies/authors do to
make you feel uneasy
• Stephen King, Anne Rice
Gothic Novels
• Haunting atmosphere
– Burials, tortures, hypnotism, resurrection of
• Working of the human mind
• Romantic sensibility
– Feelings = most essential human characteristic
– Peaks of emotion and imagination
Edgar Allan Poe
• Never felt accepted
• Influenced by King and Bradbury
• Gothic details to enhance the story
– Rotting mansion
– Mysterious illness
– Sounds at night
– Being buried alive
• Build the mood
Video Clip
• What words and phrases in the description convey a strong sense
of sickness and death? (p. 265)
• What are some of the words in this description of the interior of
the house that enhance the atmosphere of gloom and dread? (p.
• What parallels can you see between this description of Usher and
Poe’s description of the house? (p. 267)
• What kind of a laugh is unaccompanied by a smile? (p. 271)
• What can you infer from the statement, “Such opinions need no
comment”? (p. 271)
• How has Roderick’s behavior affected the narrator? (p. 274)
• What details heighten the atmosphere of the narrator’s nighttime
fears? (p. 275)
• Poe uses the storm to create a mood. How would you describe this
mood? What specific words and phrases produce it? (p. 275)
• What happens in the climactic scene? (p. 278)
• Questions p. 280 #1, 2, 3, 5
• Activities
– Movie poster: Create a movie poster for a film version
of “The Fall of the House of Usher” that captures the
atmosphere of the work. The poster should include
the title and a thrilling caption.
– Radio script: Adapt “The Fall of the House of Usher”
to a fifteen-minute radio presentation. Write a script
and include directions for sound effects and
background music that support the story’s mood.
Art, Music, and Literature
• Divide the class into groups. Tell each group to
locate examples (5 minimum) of their art form
that the narrator might have used to
successfully calm Usher’s nerves.
– Group 1: art
– Group 2: music
– Group 3: literature