The Unity Effect in Edgar Allan Poe's "The Fall of the House of Usher"

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GRIN Verlag, 2007 - 64 Seiten
Seminar paper from the year 2005 in the subject American Studies - Literature, grade: 1,7, University of Kassel, course: Hauptseminar "Antebellum in American Short Fiction", 13 entries in the bibliography, language: English, abstract: "A skillful literary artist has constructed a tale, ... there should be no word written, of which the tendency, direct or indirect, is not to the one pre-established design..." Edgar Allan Poe, who was praised as given the title of "one of the greatest journalistic critic of his time" by literary critics, stressed unity, totality, and prescribed design. And "The Fall of the House of Usher", is proved to be a very successful story to demonstrate Poe's adherence of his own principle of constructiveness and his structural art. The intention of this research paper is, therefore, to examine how Poe emphasized unity of effect in theory and how it is fulfilled in practice especially in one of his best-known stories. In a close reading of "Usher", the author is above all impressed by the melancholic tone that Poe obviously intends to raise at the very beginning of this story. For this reason, how Poe implements his technique by making tone obedient to the unity of effect will be first of all examined in this paper. Obviously, tone should be identified with atmosphere. According to Poe, unity of setting is another important requirement for achieving the unity of effect in prose writing, which will be studied in the second section. If, as critics maintain, characters are skilfully adapted to the circumstances which surround them are a general device in Poe's tales, it is in "Usher" in particular. The third section intends to show how characters are made to fit into the desolate house and dreary environment to achieve the desired effect in this tale. Finally, with the ideal arrangement of effective tone, setting, characters, Poe gains his battlefield to carry out unity of effect in plot in "Usher". In order to attain the unity of plot in lit
 

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Seite 5 - DURING THE WHOLE of a dull, dark, and soundless day in the autumn of the year, when the clouds hung oppressively low in the heavens, I had been passing alone, on horseback, through a singularly dreary tract of country; and at length found myself, as the shades of the evening drew on, within view of the melancholy House of Usher.
Seite 9 - For this the most natural suggestion might seem to be a forest, or the fields ; but it has always appeared to me that a close circumscription of space is absolutely necessary to the effect of insulated incident ; it has the force of a frame to a picture.
Seite 3 - If his very initial sentence tend not to the outbringing of this effect, then he has failed in his first step. In the whole composition there should be no word written, of which the tendency, direct or indirect, is not to the one preestablished design.
Seite 24 - Nothing is more clear than that every plot, worth the name, must be elaborated to its denouement before anything be attempted with the pen. It is only with the denouement constantly in view that we can give a plot its indispensable air of consequence, or causation, by making the incidents, and especially the tone at all points, tend to the development of the intention.
Seite 5 - Having chosen a novel, first, and secondly a vivid effect, I consider whether it can be best wrought by incident or tone- whether by ordinary incidents and peculiar tone, or the converse, or by peculiarity both of incident and tone- afterward looking about me (or rather within) for such combinations of event, or tone, as shall best aid me in the construction of the effect.
Seite 11 - I endeavored to believe that much, if not all, of what I felt was due to the bewildering influence of the gloomy furniture of the room, of the dark and tattered draperies, which, tortured into motion by the breath of a rising tempest, swayed fitfully to and fro upon the walls, and rustled uneasily about the decorations of the bed.
Seite 3 - A skilful literary artist has constructed a tale. If wise, he has not fashioned his thoughts to accommodate his incidents ; but having conceived, with deliberate care, a certain unique or single effect to be wrought out, he then invents such incidents — he then combines such events as may best aid him in establishing this preconceived effect.
Seite 21 - I might well have congratulated myself upon the success of my design. I had arrived at that well-known portion of the story where Ethelred, the hero of the Trist...

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