Paper 4

“The Fall of the House of Usher”  Literary AnalysisGeneral Guidelines

A significant principle of human nature is shown in the connections that Poe establishes among his characters in “The Fall of the House of Usher.” These connections are not only to one another but also to the setting and to the events in the story.  The Usher twins, Roderick and Madeline, are portrayed as having one soul, symbolically connected to the family house, the deterioration of which represents the tragic fate of the Usher family. The narrator soon finds himself drawn into the “dark and intricate passage” of both the house and Roderick’s world of madness. He, too, almost becomes a victim of this decadent world.  Thus, a detailed account of the relationship of these characters and their reactions to the environment enables Poe to convey a meaningful effect of terror in this story.

Assignment: Write an essay of no more than three and no less than two typed pages (11 point font; 1 1/2 spacing) discussing Poe’s use of objects and/or environment to create terror in one of the characters or readers in “The Fall of the House of Usher.” Your essay should contain the following:

  1. a 3 part introductory paragraph with a clear thesis statement.
  2. three or more paragraphs delineating and supporting your thesis; each paragraph must use a quotation from the story which must be fully explicated and tied to your thesis.
  3. a concluding paragraph which summarizes the main points of your essay and restates your thesis using different words.
  4. Please note the requirements:
    • Write about the literature in the present tense!
    • Do not use 1st person “I,” “me,” etc.
    • Do not use 2nd person “you,” ‘your.”
    • Commas and periods always go inside quotation marks.
    • Use ellipsis points (…) when omitting portions of quoted material.
    • Use transitions and sentence variety.
    • Make sure your body paragraphs are “TIED.”
    • Refer to your thesis handout for help.
    • Label EVERYTHING!! Parts 1, 2, and 3 in both the intro and conclusion as well as the T, I, E and D in EVERY body paragraph.


W.11-12.1 Write arguments to support claims in an analysis of substantive topics or texts, using valid reasoning and relevant and sufficient evidence.

___Introduction is structured according to the 3-part inverted triangle method.

__  Contains a debatable thesis statement that fully analyzes the meaning of the text and prompt.

__  Body paragraphs support analysis with explicit ideas from the text while following TIED structure.

___Contains a 3-part conclusion structured in the triangle format.

___ Contains a properly formatted Works Cited page.

___ Analyzes rather than summarizes.

___ Uses academic language, vocabulary, syntax, and word choice to convey ideas.