influences of his own fantastic yet impressive superstitions . Poe, 1839: 10

4.1.5 Theme

Theme is the deep meaning of a story. We can discover the theme of a story by a responsive and intensive reading of the story. Thus, the themes of The Fall of the House of Usher can be:

a. Terror

The central theme of ―The Fall of the House of Usher‖ is terror. Terror, from the Latin verb , means ―to frighten‖. The goal of terror is to inspire dread and to paralyze the will to resist the objectives of the person responsible for. The symbol of terror shows in some part of the story. It is available in the quotations below: To an anomalous species of terror I found him a bounden slave. I shall perish, said he, I must perish in this deplorable folly. Thus, thus, and not otherwise, shall I be lost. I dread the events of the future, not in themselves, but in their results. I shudder at the thought of any, even the most trivial, incident, which may operate upon this intolerable agitation of soul. I have, indeed, no abhorrence of danger, except in its absolute effect--in terror. In this unnerved-in this pitiable condition--I feel that the period will sooner or later arrive when I must abandon life and reason together, in some struggle with the grim phantasm, FEAR. Poe, 1839: 4 His ordinary occupations were neglected or forgotten. He roamed from chamber to chamber with hurried, unequal, and objectless step. The pallor of his countenance had assumed, if possible, a more ghastly hue--but the luminousness of his eye had utterly gone out. The once occasional huskiness of his tone was heard no more; and a tremulous quaver, as if of extreme terror, habitually characterized his utterance. Poe, 1839: 10 From the quotations above it’s easily to identify the terror as the major theme of the story, however part of the terror of the story is its ambiguity. Oppressed, as I certainly was, upon the occurrence of the second and most extraordinary coincidence, by a thousand conflicting sensations, in which wonder and extreme terror were predominant, I still retained sufficient presence of mind to avoid exciting, by any observation, the sensitive nervousness of my companion. I was by no means certain that he had noticed the sounds in question; although, assuredly, a strange alteration had, during the last few minutes, taken place in his demeanour. Poe, 1839: 12 The quotations above described that Poe wants to show a condition when the Roderick Usher in effect of terror of death. The terror arisen from the complexity and multiplicity of forces that shape human destiny. In the last story, Poe written that Madeline returned and she fall upon Usher. During the fall, he died. It shows that the return of Madeline is part of terror of death toward Usher.

b. Fear