Poe's Stories

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Narrator (The Fall of the House of Usher) Character Analysis

The narrator acts as a pair of eyes observing the goings on within the Usher house, where Usher and Madeleine have been living solitary and in suffering. As the childhood friend of Roderick Usher, the narrator is able to detail the changes in Roderick, and to report on and, to an extent, tend to Roderick as the supernatural events of the story play out.

Narrator (The Fall of the House of Usher) Quotes in Poe's Stories

The Poe's Stories quotes below are all either spoken by Narrator (The Fall of the House of Usher) or refer to Narrator (The Fall of the House of Usher). For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Rivals and Doppelgangers Theme Icon
). Note: all page and citation info for the quotes below refers to the Penguin Classics edition of Poe's Stories published in 2006.
The Fall of the House of Usher Quotes

I know not how it was – but, with the first glimpse of the building, a sense of insufferable gloom pervaded my spirit. I say insufferable; for the feeling was unrelieved by any of that half-pleasurable, because poetic, sentiment, with which the mind usually receives even the sternest natural images of the desolate or terrible.

Related Characters: Narrator (The Fall of the House of Usher) (speaker)
Related Symbols: Architecture
Page Number: 126
Explanation and Analysis:

In this famous passage, the narrator of the story looks upon the House of Usher and immediately feels a sense of gloom and horror. The house has been the site of great misery in recent years, and here, Poe suggests that this misery is palpable--the house itself seems to record and radiate the emotions of the people who lived there.

The passage is a great example of Poe's Gothic style. The Gothic genre, popular in the 19th century, often hinges upon a big, intimidating house full of memories and mystery. The house is practically a character in the story, just as it is in the best Gothic novels. The house is like the "Greek chorus" of the story--both witnessing the events of the plot and elevating them to their emotional peak.

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Narrator (The Fall of the House of Usher) Character Timeline in Poe's Stories

The timeline below shows where the character Narrator (The Fall of the House of Usher) appears in Poe's Stories. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
The Fall of the House of Usher
The Gothic Style Theme Icon
Self, Solitude, and Consciousness Theme Icon
The narrator of "House of Usher" is passing on horseback through a dull part of the country on a grim day,... (full context)
The Gothic Style Theme Icon
Self, Solitude, and Consciousness Theme Icon
The narrator of "House of Usher" tries to explain to himself how the house has this effect on him, but it... (full context)
Rivals and Doppelgangers Theme Icon
The Gothic Style Theme Icon
Self, Solitude, and Consciousness Theme Icon
The Power of Memory Theme Icon
Despite all this, the narrator of "House of Usher" is planning to stay at this very residence. He has received an urgent letter from... (full context)
The Gothic Style Theme Icon
Self, Solitude, and Consciousness Theme Icon
The Power of Memory Theme Icon
The narrator of "House of Usher" describes looking down into the water and feeling his superstition about the house increase within... (full context)
The Dead and the Living Theme Icon
The Gothic Style Theme Icon
The narrator of "House of Usher" notices the extreme age of the property, but that some parts are crumbling and others... (full context)
The Dead and the Living Theme Icon
The Gothic Style Theme Icon
Self, Solitude, and Consciousness Theme Icon
On the way, the narrator of "House of Usher" passes many striking objects and images on tapestries and carvings, and he feels again that... (full context)
The Dead and the Living Theme Icon
The Gothic Style Theme Icon
The Power of Memory Theme Icon
Usher rises and greets his old friend eagerly, which the narrator of "House of Usher" can tell is very sincere, but he can see that the man is completely changed,... (full context)
Rivals and Doppelgangers Theme Icon
The Dead and the Living Theme Icon
The Gothic Style Theme Icon
Self, Solitude, and Consciousness Theme Icon
...times incomprehensible, one minute full of energy, the other depressed. In this mania, he tells the narrator of "House of Usher" about his illness. He says it is a family complaint. He describes his symptoms as... (full context)
Rivals and Doppelgangers Theme Icon
The Dead and the Living Theme Icon
The Gothic Style Theme Icon
...able to walk around but on this day, she finally takes to her bed and the narrator of "House of Usher" knows he will probably never see her again. Over the ensuing days the narrator tries... (full context)
The Gothic Style Theme Icon
The narrator of "House of Usher" and Usher paint and read together. These hours stay in the narrator’s memory, but he... (full context)
Rivals and Doppelgangers Theme Icon
The Dead and the Living Theme Icon
The Gothic Style Theme Icon
The narrator of "House of Usher" distinctly remembers one example of these songs, and perhaps it is the truth of its... (full context)
The Dead and the Living Theme Icon
The Gothic Style Theme Icon
Self, Solitude, and Consciousness Theme Icon
This recitation reminds the narrator of "House of Usher" of a strange belief that Usher held about his house: that the objects in it... (full context)
The Dead and the Living Theme Icon
The Gothic Style Theme Icon
As Usher’s closest companion now, the narrator of "House of Usher" helps him to move the lady’s coffin into the dark, musty vault. This particular room... (full context)
Rivals and Doppelgangers Theme Icon
The Dead and the Living Theme Icon
The Gothic Style Theme Icon
Self, Solitude, and Consciousness Theme Icon
When they have placed the coffin, they remove the lid and the narrator of "House of Usher" is surprised to find a striking resemblance between the sister and brother. Usher tells him... (full context)
Rivals and Doppelgangers Theme Icon
The Dead and the Living Theme Icon
The Gothic Style Theme Icon
Self, Solitude, and Consciousness Theme Icon
The Power of Memory Theme Icon
...even worse and his voice takes on a permanently terrified tone. It often seems to the narrator of "House of Usher" that Usher is burdened with a terrible secret that he wishes to tell. He also... (full context)
Rivals and Doppelgangers Theme Icon
The Dead and the Living Theme Icon
The Gothic Style Theme Icon
Self, Solitude, and Consciousness Theme Icon
The mood is so overpowering that the narrator of "House of Usher" finds himself changing a little too. He feels this way especially one night about a... (full context)
The Gothic Style Theme Icon
Self, Solitude, and Consciousness Theme Icon
As the narrator of "House of Usher" does this, he hears a footfall outside the room and knows that it is Usher.... (full context)
Rivals and Doppelgangers Theme Icon
The Gothic Style Theme Icon
Self, Solitude, and Consciousness Theme Icon
The Power of Memory Theme Icon
The narrator of "House of Usher" wants to shield Usher from this sight, which he explains is nothing more than an... (full context)
Rivals and Doppelgangers Theme Icon
The Gothic Style Theme Icon
The Power of Memory Theme Icon
The narrator of "House of Usher" comes to the point in the book where Ethelred, during a storm, comes to the... (full context)
The Dead and the Living Theme Icon
The Gothic Style Theme Icon
Self, Solitude, and Consciousness Theme Icon
...being intent on the reader to now watching the doorway, and rocking back and forth. The narrator of "House of Usher" carries on, but again as Ethelred drops his shield, a metallic sound reverberates through the... (full context)
The Dead and the Living Theme Icon
The Gothic Style Theme Icon
The narrator of "House of Usher" flees from the house, and through the storm. He sees a flash of light and... (full context)