The Fall of the House of Usher (Poe)

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The Fall of the House of Usher
Summary of the Short Story
Microsummary: A man visits his childhood friend, living in a gloomy mansion, suffering from physical and mental illness. Eventually, the house collapses, killing both the friend and his sister, fulfilling a superstitious prophecy.

A man received a mysterious letter from his childhood friend, Roderick Usher, begging him to visit. Usher had been suffering from a mental illness, so the man went to Usher's decaying mansion to provide him with some solace.

The Narrator — old friend of Roderick Usher; sympathetic, rational, touched by the gloomy atmosphere.
Roderick Usher — heir of the Usher family; suffering from acute sensitivity and paranoia; frail, pale, artistically inclined.

I was forced to fall back upon the unsatisfactory conclusion, that while, beyond doubt, there are combinations of very simple natural objects which have the power of thus affecting us.

There, he discovered that Usher's sister, Madeline, was also on the verge of death. Madeline finally passed away and was placed in a tomb within their home.

Madeline Usher — Roderick's twin sister; suffering from catalepsy; silent, spectral.

After Madeline's burial, Usher's behavior became increasingly erratic. One stormy night, as the man tried to distract Usher by reading a story, Usher revealed that he believes Madeline was buried alive. Suddenly, the doors of the mansion were flung open and Madeline appeared, covered in blood and showing signs of struggle.

I tell you that she now stands without the door!

She fell onto her brother, causing them both to collapse to the ground, dead. The man fled in horror, and as he left, he looked back to see the mansion breaking apart before sinking into the dark tarn surrounding it.