Edgar Alan Poe- The Fall of the House of Usher Nameless narrator for a more profound comprehension of the story In ”The Fall of the House of Usher” Edgar Alan Poe describes the peculiar relationship between the twins Roderick and Madeline Usher, the last descendants of the House of Usher. This relationship, however, remains undefined and vague in many parts of the story, which is introduced to the reader through an unnamed narrator. In this article I am going to discuss the type of the narrator and it’s role in the story as a method geniously used by Edgar Alan Poe.
When the story begins, the reader is introduced to a first person narration, which, however, from what we observe later in the story has a specific characteristic that amplifies its influence on the reader. The narrator introduces himself as an old friend of Roderich Usher with whom, when they were young, used to spend their free time, but his name is never mentioned throughout the story. Even Roderick, whenever he addresses to his friend, uses only the pronoun ”you”, consequently there is not even a single hint about what the name of the narrator might be.
This method of Edgar Alan Poe is used in order to immerse the reader more deeply in the story until there is a personal identification between him and the narrator. As a result, the reader feels like he takes part in the story as the friend of Roderick Usher and, subsequently, we have a more lively and vivid narration. The reader is free to identify whichever he wants with that nameless narrator. Furthermore, the narrator in ”The Fall of the House of Usher” has one more characteristic, which can be distinct when the whole story comes to an end.
The friend of Roderick Usher has come to the castle for only one purpose: to offer company and sympathy to Roderick, whose sister, Madeline, is sick and about to die. There is nothing else in the story that the narrator is able to discourage from happening and the most important event of all these is his inability to intervene and save his friend from being killed by his sister, who seeks revenge for being buried alive. Last but not least, the narrator leaves the castle immediately, which, following the death of both siblings, falls apart, too.
Eventually, we can easily understand that the narrator in the whole story remains a secondary, almost unnecessary, character, who is a simple observer of the events without the faintest ability to interfere in any of the most crucial parts of the story. Therefore, the writer achieves a balance because from the one hand he makes the reader take part in the story vividly, but on the other hand reminds him that, no matter how immersed in the story he might be, he is still unable to change what is going to happen.