Roderick and madeline relationship

The fall of the Usher house | Ramona Mirela -

roderick and madeline relationship

Roderick claims that he and his twin share a special connection, one that others would It's possible that Roderick knew Madeline was alive when he asked the . How does Poe present the relationship between the mind and the body So while Madeline gets weaker physically (body), her twin Roderick. In Poe's "The Fall of the House of Usher," both of the Ushers—Roderick and Madeline—are strange, and they also seem to have an odd relationship with each.

Roderick later informs the narrator that his sister has died and insists that she be entombed for two weeks in the family tomb located in the house before being permanently buried. The narrator helps Roderick put the body in the tomb, and he notes that Madeline has rosy cheeks, as some do after death. They inter her, but over the next week both Roderick and the narrator find themselves becoming increasingly agitated for no apparent reason. Roderick comes to the narrator's bedroom, which is situated directly above the vault, and throws open his window to the storm.

He notices that the tarn surrounding the house seems to glow in the darkas it glowed in Roderick Usher's paintings, although there is no lightning.

roderick and madeline relationship

The narrator attempts to calm Roderick by reading aloud The Mad Trist, a novel involving a knight named Ethelred who breaks into a hermit 's dwelling in an attempt to escape an approaching storm, only to find a palace of gold guarded by a dragon.

He also finds, hanging on the wall, a shield of shining brass on which is written a legend: Who entereth herein, a conqueror hath bin; Who slayeth the dragon, the shield he shall win; [1] With a stroke of his maceEthelred kills the dragon, who dies with a piercing shriek, and proceeds to take the shield, which falls to the floor with an unnerving clatter.

As the narrator reads of the knight's forcible entry into the dwelling, cracking and ripping sounds are heard somewhere in the house. When the dragon is described as shrieking as it dies, a shriek is heard, again within the house. As he relates the shield falling from off the wall, a reverberationmetallic and hollow, can be heard. Roderick becomes increasingly hysterical, and eventually exclaims that these sounds are being made by his sister, who was in fact alive when she was entombed.

Additionally, Roderick somehow knew that she was alive. The bedroom door is then blown open to reveal Madeline standing there. She falls on her brother, and both land on the floor as corpses. The narrator then flees the house, and, as he does so, notices a flash of moonlight behind him which causes him to turn back, in time to see the moon shining through the suddenly widened crack.

As he watches, the House of Usher splits in two and the fragments sink into the tarn. This article needs additional citations for verification. Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. As his "best and only friend", [2] Roderick tells of his illness and asks that he visits.

He is persuaded by Roderick's desperation for companionship. Though sympathetic and helpful, the narrator is continually made to be the outsider.

The Fall of the House of Usher

From his perspective, the cautionary tale unfolds. The narrator also exists as Roderick's audience, as the men are not very well acquainted and Roderick is convinced of his impending demise. The narrator is gradually drawn into Roderick's belief after being brought forth to witness the horrors and hauntings of the House of Usher. Throughout the tale and her varying states of consciousness, Madeline ignores the Narrator's presence. After Roderick Usher claims that Madeline has died, he helps Usher place her in the underground vault despite noticing Madeline's flushed appearance.

During one sleepless night, the Narrator reads aloud to Usher as sounds are heard throughout the mansion. He witnesses Madeline's reemergence and the subsequent death of the twins, Madeline and Roderick. The narrator is the only character to escape the House of Usher, which he views as it cracks and sinks into the tarn, or mountain lake.

Usher writes to the narrator, his boyhood friend, about his illness. He is described by the narrator: And now the increase in this strangeness of his face had caused so great a change that I almost did not know him. The horrible white of his skin, and the strange light in his eyes, surprised me and even made me afraid. His hair had been allowed to grow, and in its softness it did not fall around his face but seemed to lie upon the air.

I could not, even with an effort, see in my friend the appearance of a simple human being. In addition to his constant fear and trepidation, Madeline's catalepsy is also a cause of his decay. He is tormented by the sorrow of watching his sibling die. Thompson, he meticulously plans for her burial to prevent "resurrection men" from stealing his beloved sister's corpse for experimentation, as was common in the 18th and 19th centuries for medical schools and physicians in need of cadavers.

To that end, Roderick's deteriorating condition speeds up his own torment and eventual death. His mental health deteriorates faster as he begins to hear Madeline's attempts to escape the underground vault she was buried in. Like with his sister, Roderick Usher is tied to the mansion. He believes the mansion is sentient and responsible, in part, for his deteriorating mental health and melancholy. Despite this admission, Usher remains in the mansion and composes art containing the Usher mansion or similar haunted mansions.

Roderick falls to his death out of fear in a manner similar to the House of Usher's cracking and sinking. She is deathly ill and cataleptic.

She appears before the narrator, but never acknowledges his presence. She returns to her bedroom where Roderick claims she has died. She is entombed despite her flushed appearance.

In the tale's conclusion, Madeline escapes her tomb and returns to Roderick, only to scare him to death. According to Poe's detective methodology in literatureMadeline Usher may be the physical embodiment of the supernatural and metaphysical worlds.

Her limited presence is also explained as a personification of Roderick's torment and fear. It was slightly revised in for the collection Tales of the Grotesque and Arabesque. It contains within it Poe's poem " The Haunted Palace ", which had earlier been published separately in the April issue of the Baltimore Museum magazine. Sources of inspiration[ edit ] Home of Hezekiah Usher 's son, Hezekiah Poe's inspiration for the story may be based upon events of the Hezekiah Usher House, which was located on the Usher estate that is now a three-block area bounded in modern Boston by Tremont Street to the northwest, Washington Street to the southeast, Avery Street to the south and Winter Street to the north.

The house was constructed in and either torn down or relocated in When the Usher House was torn down intwo bodies were found embraced in a cavity in the cellar. Luke Usher, the friends and fellow actors of his mother Eliza Poe.

Hoffmannwho was a role model and inspiration for Poe, published the story Das Majorat in There are many similarities between the two stories, like the breaking in two of a house, eerie sounds in the night, the story within a story and the house owner being called "Roderich". This interdependence causes a chain reaction when one of the elements suffers a breakdown. Upon receiving his death sentence, the narrator swoons, losing consciousness.

When he wakes, he faces complete darkness. He is afraid that he has been locked in a tomb, but he gets up and walks a few paces. This mobility then leads him to surmise that he is not in a tomb, but perhaps in one of the dungeons at Toledo, an infamous Inquisition prison.

He decides to explore. Ripping off a piece of the hem from his robe, he places it against the wall so that he can count the number of steps required to walk the perimeter of the cell. However, he soon stumbles and collapses to the ground, where he falls asleep.

Upon waking, the narrator finds offerings of water and bread, which he eagerly consumes. He then resumes his exploration of the prison, determining it to be roughly one hundred paces around. He decides to walk across the room. As he crosses, though, the hem that he ripped earlier tangles around his feet and trips him.

Hitting the floor, he realizes that, although most of his body has fallen on solid ground, his face dangles over an abyss. To his dismay, he concludes that in the center of the prison there exists a circular pit. To estimate its depth, the narrator breaks a stone off the wall of the pit and throws it in, timing its descent.

The pit, he believes, is quite deep, with water at the bottom. Reflecting upon his proximity to the pit, the narrator explains its function as a punishment of surprise, infamously popular with the Inquisitors.

The narrator falls asleep again and wakes up to more water and bread. After drinking, he immediately falls asleep again and imagines that the water must have been drugged. When he wakes up the next time, he finds the prison dimly lit.

He remarks that he has overestimated its size, most likely having duplicated his steps during his explorations. The narrator discovers that he is now bound to a wooden board by a long strap wrapped around his body. His captors offer him some flavorful meat in a dish, but no more water.

When he looks up, he notices that the figure of Time has been painted on the ceiling. Time, however, has been made into a machine, specifically a pendulum, which appears to be swinging back and forth. The narrator looks away from the ceiling, though, when he notices rats coming out of the pit and swarming around his food. When he returns his focus to the ceiling, he discovers that the pendulum is constructed like a scythe and is making a razor-sharp crescent in its descent toward him.

Its progress, however, is maddeningly slow and in a trajectory directly over his heart.

The Fall of the House of Usher

Even though he recognizes how dire the situation is, the narrator remains hopeful. When the pendulum gets very close to him, he has a flash of insight. He rubs the food from his plate all over the strap 5 that is restraining his mobility. Drawn by the food, the rats climb on top of the narrator and chew through the strap. When he gets up, the pendulum retracts to the ceiling, and he concludes that people must be watching his every move. The walls of the prison then heat up and begin moving in toward the pit.

The narrator realizes that the enclosing walls will force him into the pit, an escape that will also mean his death. When there remains not even an inch foothold for the narrator, the walls suddenly retract and cool down.

In his fear, however, the narrator has begun to faint into the pit. To his great surprise, though, a mysterious person latches onto him and prevents his fall. The French general Lasalle and his army have successfully taken over the prison in their effort to terminate the Inquisition. He thus highlights his own unreliability in ways that other narrators resist or deny. The narrator maintains the capacity to recount faithfully and rationally his surroundings while also describing his own emotional turmoil.

This historical frame fills in for a personal history of the narrator. We do not know the specific circumstances of his arrest, nor are we given any arguments for his innocence or explanation for the barbarous cruelty of the Inquisitors.

The tale suggests a political agenda only implicitly. The narrative examines the physical and 6 emotional fluctuations of the pure present, leaving historical and moral judgments to us. Moreover, he argues that all elements of a work of fiction should be crafted toward a single, intense effect. Stripped of extraneous detail, the story focuses on what horror truly is: Whether the narrator chooses to jump into the pit or get sliced in half by the pendulum, he faces an identical outcome—death.

The horror of this lack of choice is the effect for which everything in the story strives. The story, however, holds out hope by demonstrating that true resolve when what someone chooses to do seems most impossible.

When threatened by the pendulum, the narrator does not succumb to the swooning of his senses. He recruits his rational capacities and uses the hungry rats for his own benefit. In this way, the narrator resembles a character like C. He functions with Dupin-like practicality despite the invisible enemy threatening him with torture.

General Lasalle - A leader of the French army. General Lasalle is a real and positive presence of authority in contrast to the shadowy and invisible leaders of the Inquisition. They force an entry and prepare for a night in one of the building's smallest apartments, which lies in a minor tower. The apartment has rich but decaying decorations, including tapestries, trophies, and paintings. The narrator is semi-delirious from his wounds and takes an intense interest in the paintings, so he has Pedro close the shutters, light a candelabrum, and open the bed curtains so that the narrator can look at the paintings while reading a book he has found on the pillow, which provides information about the paintings.

Rather than going to sleep along with his valet, the narrator reads and observes until around midnight, when he decides to shift the candelabrum to throw more light on the book. The main effect of the narrator's movement of the candles is that the light now reveals a portrait that had been hidden in the dark near one of the bedposts. The painting is of a girl on the cusp of becoming a woman, and the narrator feels a sudden impulse to close his eyes, which he does in order to calm down and view the painting more clearly.

When he opens his eyes again, he sees that his senses had momentarily deceived him and startled him into wakefulness. The portrait displays a vignette of the girl's head and shoulders in the style of Thomas Sully, an American portraitist. The details below the bust darken into the shadow of the background, and the oval frame is covered with gold filigree in the Moorish style. The painting is beautiful, as is the subject, but the narrator had momentarily mistaken it for a living person, although it is obviously a painting.

He continues to observe the portrait to determine how the painting had caused the effect before respectfully returning the candelabrum to its previous position so that he cannot see the painting. The narrator opens his book to read about the oval portrait. It describes the subject as a naturally cheerful "maiden of rarest beauty" who marries the painter for love.

The painter, the book relates, is passionate but studious, and as much in love with his painting as he is with his wife. Consequently, although the wife is naturally happy and loving of all things, she despises his art and the tools of painting because she has to compete with his art for the painter's time and affection.

The wife's dislike of her husband's art eventually comes into conflict with his love for the painting when he asks her to sit as a model for a portrait. She dislikes the idea, but being a modest and obedient wife, she agrees to sit in the dark tower where the only light comes from above so that he can paint. The painter is passionate about the painting, but because of his moodiness and dreaminess, he does not notice that she is wasting away in the dark. Nevertheless, she does not complain and continues to smile for his portrait because she knows that her husband is obsessed with his project.

The portrait is so life-like that everyone who sees it marvels and concludes that it is the combination of his skill and his love for his wife.

The Fall of the House of Usher | Earth, Sea, & Sky: The Natures of World Literature

However, as the portrait nears completion, the painter shuts himself and his wife into the tower away from visitors so that he can place all his concentration on his work, not realizing that his wife grows paler as the portrait grows more life-like. When he finishes the painting, he stares at it and realizes that "this is indeed Life itself!

Analysis 8 As one of the shortest of Poe's stories, "The Oval Portrait" consists of a brief one- paragraph story framed within a larger vignette whose main purpose is to establish the romantic Gothic mood in which the story occurs. The setting and basis of the plot are shrouded in mystery; the narrator does not explain how or where he is wounded, and with his servant, he enters an abandoned, decaying chateau that offers no more answers than the narrator.

The dark gloom of a deserted house is a classic background for a Gothic story, and the tapestries and strange architecture of the building give the narrator's choice of apartment a feeling of removal from the contemporary world. Nothing of consequence occurs during the night, but the details provide a romantic feeling of loss that serves as an introduction to the story of the oval portrait. The oval portrait indicates the tension between the impermanence of life and the intransience of art.

The portrait's subject is full of life when she marries the painter, but the as the guide book says, "The tints which he spread upon the canvas were drawn from the cheeks of her who sat beside him.

The history of the painting suggests that although the metamorphosis from life to eternal art may create a masterful work of beauty that simulates life, the narrator is only deceived by his "dreamy stupor" and by the sudden reveal of the painting from the dark.

A second, more intense look at the painting reveals the illusion, and similarly, the painter of the story ends by giving up his wife for a mere image. The destruction of loved ones is a common theme in many of Poe's short stories, but unlike in Poe's other stories, the painter does not cause his wife's death because of hate or any negative emotions.

Instead, his passion for his art simply overwhelms him to the point where he can no longer see his wife except though the lens of his painting. Thus, the story associates art and creativity with decay, not only within the story of the painting but in the juxtaposition of "spirited modern paintings" with "rich, yet tattered and antique" decorations within the narrator's room.

In the stories of C. Auguste Dupin, Poe praises the power of creativity tempered by the ability to maintain emotional removal, but the passion of the painter in "The Oval Portrait" is unrestricted and hence ultimately harmful in his search to immortalize his wife's image. The association of beautiful women with death is prevalent in Poe's works, and is especially prominent in "The Oval Portrait. Finally, as she dies, the process of transfer between life and art completes, and her portrait captures her "immortal beauty" before it can fade away in old age and memory.

Art and aesthetics are intrinsically connected, and the relationship between art and death places the painter's wife next to other Poe characters such as Ligeia from the eponymous story, who also become beautiful as they approach death. Although "The Oval Portrait" centers on the painting of a woman, the painter's wife is essentially a passive figure within the story.

Docile and loving, she is akin to the canvas of the portrait in that both are manipulated by the male painter, whose passion and drive make him the active figure in the history of the painting.

Furthermore, the wife is never the active, observing character. She is only observed, both by her husband, who in the throes of his art sees her only as a model, and by the narrator, who peers at her image in order to while away the night we know that the narrator is male because his servant is described as a valet, a term commonly used for the male servant of a man.

roderick and madeline relationship

The wife's fate acts as a criticism of the male domination of art, but her compliance and submissiveness prevent her from serving as more than a silent warning. The nameless narrator was the surveyor of the customhouse in Salem, Massachusetts. When the narrator lost his customs post, he decided to write a fictional account of the events recorded in the manuscript.

The Scarlet Letter is the final product. The story begins in seventeenth-century Boston, then a Puritan settlement. A man in the crowd tells an elderly onlooker that Hester is being punished for adultery. The consensus is that he has been lost at sea. While waiting for her husband, Hester has apparently had an affair, as she has given birth to a child. He settles in Boston, intent on revenge. He reveals his true identity to no one but Hester, whom he has sworn to secrecy.

Hester supports herself by working as a seamstress, and Pearl grows into a willful, impish child.

Shunned by the community, they live in a small cottage on the outskirts of Boston. Community officials attempt to take Pearl away from Hester, but, with the help of Arthur Dimmesdale, a young and eloquent minister, the mother and daughter manage to stay together. Dimmesdale, however, appears to be wasting away and suffers from mysterious heart trouble, seemingly caused by psychological distress. Chillingworth attaches himself to the ailing minister and eventually moves in with him so that he can provide his patient with round-the-clock care.

One night, when Pearl is about seven years old, she and her mother are returning home from a visit to a deathbed when they encounter Dimmesdale atop the town 10 scaffold, trying to punish himself for his sins. Hester and Pearl join him, and the three link hands. Hester arranges an encounter with Dimmesdale in the forest because she is aware that Chillingworth has probably guessed that she plans to reveal his identity to Dimmesdale.

The former lovers decide to flee to Europe, where they can live with Pearl as a family. They will take a ship sailing from Boston in four days. Both feel a sense of release, and Hester removes her scarlet letter and lets down her hair. Pearl, playing nearby, does not recognize her mother without the letter. The day before the ship is to sail, the townspeople gather for a holiday and Dimmesdale preaches his most eloquent sermon ever. Meanwhile, Hester has learned that Chillingworth knows of their plan and has booked passage on the same ship.

Dimmesdale, leaving the church after his sermon, sees Hester and Pearl standing before the town scaffold. He impulsively mounts the scaffold with his lover and his daughter, and confesses publicly, exposing a scarlet letter seared into the flesh of his chest.

He falls dead, as Pearl kisses him. Frustrated in his revenge, Chillingworth dies a year later. Hester and Pearl leave Boston, and no one knows what has happened to them. Many years later, Hester returns alone, still wearing the scarlet letter, to live in her old cottage and resume her charitable work. She receives occasional letters from Pearl, who has married a European aristocrat and established a family of her own.

When Hester dies, she is buried next to Dimmesdale. We know very little about Hester prior to her affair with Dimmesdale and her resultant public shaming. We read that she married Chillingworth although she did not love him, but we never fully understand why. The early chapters of the book suggest that, prior to her marriage, Hester was a strong-willed and impetuous young woman—she remembers her parents as loving guides who frequently had to restrain her incautious behavior.

The fact that she has an affair also suggests that she once had a passionate nature. Shamed and alienated from the rest of the community, Hester becomes contemplative. She speculates on human nature, social organization, and larger moral questions.

Hester also becomes a kind of compassionate maternal figure as a result of her experiences. Hester moderates her tendency to be rash, for she knows that such behavior could cause her to lose her daughter, Pearl. Hester is also maternal with respect to society: The shame attached to her scarlet letter is long gone.

roderick and madeline relationship

Throughout The Scarlet Letter Hester is portrayed as an intelligent, capable, but not necessarily extraordinary woman. It is the extraordinary circumstances shaping her that make her such an important figure. Roger Chillingworth As his name suggests, Roger Chillingworth is a man deficient in human warmth. His twisted, stooped, deformed shoulders mirror his distorted soul.

From what the reader is told of his early years with Hester, he was a difficult husband. He ignored his wife for much of the time, yet expected her to nourish his soul with affection when he did condescend to spend time with her. Unable to engage in equitable relationships with those around him, he feeds on the vitality of others as a way of energizing his own projects.

After Dimmesdale dies, Chillingworth no longer has a victim. Having lost the objects of his revenge, the leech has no choice but to die. Ultimately, Chillingworth represents true evil. He is associated with secular and sometimes illicit forms of knowledge, as his chemical experiments and medical practices occasionally verge on witchcraft and murder.

He is interested in revenge, not justice, and he seeks the deliberate destruction of others rather than a redress of wrongs. Arthur Dimmesdale Arthur Dimmesdale, like Hester Prynne, is an individual whose identity owes more to external circumstances than to his innate nature. The reader is told that Dimmesdale was a scholar of some renown at Oxford University. His past suggests that he is probably somewhat aloof, the kind of man who would not have much natural sympathy for ordinary men and women.

However, 12 Dimmesdale has an unusually active conscience. The fact that Hester takes all of the blame for their shared sin goads his conscience, and his resultant mental anguish and physical weakness open up his mind and allow him to empathize with others. Consequently, he becomes an eloquent and emotionally powerful speaker and a compassionate leader, and his congregation is able to receive meaningful spiritual guidance from him.

This drives Dimmesdale to further internalize his guilt and self-punishment and leads to still more deterioration in his physical and spiritual condition. In his death, Dimmesdale becomes even more of an icon than he was in life. She is quite young during most of the events of this novel—when Dimmesdale dies she is only seven years old—and her real importance lies in her ability to provoke the adult characters in the book.

In general, children in The Scarlet Letter are portrayed as more perceptive and more honest than adults, and Pearl is the most perceptive of them all. From an early age, she fixates on the emblem. Similarly, she inquires about the relationships between those around her—most important, the relationship between Hester and Dimmesdale—and offers perceptive critiques of them.

Themes Themes are the fundamental and often universal ideas explored in a literary work. The Bible begins with the story of Adam and Eve, who were expelled from the Garden of Eden for eating from the tree of knowledge of good and evil. As a result of their knowledge, Adam and Eve are made aware of their humanness, that which separates them from the divine and from other creatures. The experience of Hester and Dimmesdale recalls the story of Adam and Eve because, in both cases, sin results in expulsion and suffering.

But it also results in knowledge—specifically, in knowledge of what it means to be human. Hester and Dimmesdale contemplate their own sinfulness on a daily basis and try to reconcile it with their lived experiences. The Puritan elders, on the other hand, insist on seeing earthly experience as merely an obstacle on the path to heaven. Thus, they view sin as a threat to the community that should be punished and suppressed.

Paradoxically, these qualities are shown to be incompatible with a state of purity. The characters also try to root out the causes of evil: This confusion over the nature and causes of evil reveals the problems with the Puritan conception of sin.

The book argues that true evil arises from the close relationship between hate and love. Evil, in its most poisonous form, is found in the carefully plotted and precisely aimed revenge of Chillingworth, whose love has been perverted. Dimmesdale, who should love Pearl, will not even publicly acknowledge her.

His cruel denial of love to his own child may be seen as further perpetrating evil. She is not physically imprisoned, and leaving the Massachusetts Bay Colony would allow her to remove the scarlet letter and resume a normal life.

Surprisingly, Hester reacts with dismay when Chillingworth tells her that the town fathers are considering letting her remove the letter. Instead, Hester stays, refiguring the scarlet letter as a symbol of her own experiences and character.

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Her past sin is a part of who she is; to pretend that it never happened would mean denying a part of herself. Thus, Hester very determinedly integrates her sin into her life.

Dimmesdale also struggles against a socially determined identity. Except for Chillingworth, those around the minister willfully ignore his obvious anguish, misinterpreting it as holiness. Unfortunately, Dimmesdale never fully recognizes the truth of what Hester has learned: Civilization Versus the Wilderness In The Scarlet Letter, the town and the surrounding forest represent opposing behavioral systems.

The town represents civilization, a rule-bound space where everything one does is on display and where transgressions are quickly punished.

The forest, on the other hand, is a space of natural rather than human authority. When Hester and Dimmesdale meet in the woods, for a few moments, they become happy young lovers once again. It is her place of exile, which ties it to the authoritarian town, but because it lies apart from the settlement, it is a place where she can create for herself a life of relative peace.

Night is the time when inner natures can manifest themselves. During the day, interiority is once again hidden from public view, and secrets remain secrets. Evocative Names The names in this novel often seem to beg to be interpreted allegorically.

It also aligns the novel with popular forms of narrative such as fairy tales. Symbols Symbols are objects, characters, figures, and colors used to represent abstract ideas or concepts.

The Scarlet Letter The scarlet letter is meant to be a symbol of shame, but instead it becomes a powerful symbol of identity to Hester.

The child has been sent from God, or at least from nature, but the letter is merely a human contrivance. More often than not, a symbol becomes a focal point for critical analysis and debate. To Dimmesdale, the meteor implies that he should wear a mark of shame just as Hester does. The Puritans commonly looked to symbols to confirm divine sentiments. In this narrative, however, symbols are taken to mean what the beholder wants them to mean.

The incident with the meteor obviously highlights and exemplifies two different uses of symbols: Pearl Although Pearl is a complex character, her primary function within the novel is as a symbol. She is the physical consequence of sexual sin and the indicator of a transgression. The man observed his wife often, and only returned after his affairs had been settled and memory of him had passed.

He simply returned home, resumed life, and served as a faithful husband for the rest of their lives. One October evening, a man named Wakefield tells his wife that he is going on a journey, and will be back for supper on Friday.

Instead of going on a journey, however, he ventures only to an apartment one street away. In the morning, he considers his next step, realizing that his purpose is not well defined. He is curious about what is happening at home in his absence, and wonders what will come of the matters in which he was once the central figure.

He walks by his old house, but feels strangely disconnected from it, as if he had been away for a long time, and it had changed in his absence. On multiple occasions he passes by his house, watching her grow paler and paler.

One day, a doctor visits the home; from afar, Wakefield wonders if his wife will die. But, she recovers, and once again Wakefield believes that she will no longer long for him.

One day, Wakefield and his wife, now both in old age, pass one another on the streets of London. His wife continues walking into church, although she pauses to look back at the street.

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Wakefield, on the other hand, runs back to his apartment, and cries out that he is mad. Life has passed him by. Finally, twenty years after his departure, Wakefield is taking his customary walk toward his old house when he sees a comfortable fire in the second floor and the figure of his wife.

The warmth of the house seemed starkly contrasted to the rainy, windy road on which he walked. Wakefield walks into his house and resumes his old way of life.

Analysis Hawthorne takes a true story, summed up in the beginning paragraphs, and attempts to analyze the subject through the fictional character Wakefield. He tries to uncover the thoughts residing in the head of a man who ran away from home for twenty years.

A sense of childish narcissism and selfishness tint these words; Wakefield sees himself at the center of many lives, and desires to see how his disappearance will affect those around him. His selfishness borders on cruelty as he actually wishes to disturb his wife; even after witnessing her fall ill, he still refuses to return home. Isolation is therefore both a desire in the hearts of all men and a reality that some, if taken to these drastic measures, can achieve.

But, removing oneself from society comes at a cost — Wakefield loses his individuality, melting into the streets of London. And, a man who turns away from social responsibilities may find that he is, indeed, replaceable.

At the end of the story, it seems as if Wakefield reenters his home and carries on with life. Readers, however, can only speculate as to what becomes of Wakefield — whether he is happily received by his wife, or lives forever in solitude — after his lengthy absence. He has made several voyages as a sailor but none as a whaler. Since the inn is rather full, he has to share a bed with a harpooner from the South Pacific named Queequeg.

They take a ferry to Nantucket, the traditional capital of the whaling industry. There they secure berths on the Pequod, a savage-looking ship adorned with the bones and teeth of sperm whales. The Pequod leaves Nantucket on a cold Christmas Day with a crew made up of men from many different countries and races. He announces his desire to pursue and kill Moby Dick, the legendary great white whale who took his leg, because he sees this whale as the embodiment of evil.

Ahab nails a gold doubloon to the mast and declares that it will be the prize for the first man to sight the whale. As thePequod sails toward the southern tip of Africa, whales are sighted and unsuccessfully hunted. The Pequod rounds Africa and enters the Indian Ocean.