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Stylistic analysis has a great role in understanding the importance of the literary elements as well as the linguistic contents in literary text. An attempt is made in the current paper to stylistically analyze the literary elements used in the concerned short story.

Introduction

Stylistic analysis is of great importance to know how language functions in a text. It provides us with an interpretation of how certain elements have been put within a literary work. Stylistic analysis enables us to analyze the text from our perspective by producing an argument on the text ignoring the intention of the author (Carter. 2010). The paper is primarily based on analyzing the rhetorical and literary devices in the text.

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Methodology

Qualitative research is adopted in this work and a methodology of stylistics is undertaken.

Research Question

The core aim of the study is to find literary devices and the way they are used.

Literary Devices in the Story

Symbolism

The use of an indicator that represents an idea is what we call symbolism. It allows a writer to go beyond what is understood by developing a connection between opposite concepts.

Allen Poe is well-known for the incorporation of symbolism in most of his words. He adopts the very technique to express his views of life, death, religion, love, etc. his adaptation of symbolism explicitly reflects his own opinions. (Philips, 2008). In the story ‘The Fall of the Usher House’ Poe has incorporated the use of different things that symbolize important aspects of Poe’s views.

1. The title of the story

The title of the story ‘The Fall of the House of Usher’ stands as a symbolic entity. It is referred to both the family of Usher and the house itself. The house is perched on the brink of a lake with a few dead trees lying around. It has frightening currents on the narrator as he describes;

‘I do not know how it was –

But, with my first sight of the

Building, a sense of heavy sadness

Filled my spirits.’

The dreadful atmosphere and the frightening image of the house symbolize the negative effect of the presence of the usher in the house.

2. The windows of the house

The windows are personified as ’empty eye-like windows’. The windows are vacant which lack pleasure. It symbolizes the eyes of Usher which comes later in the story. His eyes are vacant, having no pleasure, and no memories are reflected even no hope for life is there.

3. The horror inside the house

Allen Poe spells out the psychological effect of the individuals on the atmosphere surrounding them. The building has gothic and strange feelings on the narrator as he describes;

‘And I entered the Gothic

Archway of the hall. A valet of

Stealthy step, thence conducted me, in silence,

Through many dark and intricate passages.

I hesitated not to acknowledge how families

Was all this — I still wondered to find how

Unfamiliar were the fancies which

Ordinary images were stirring up!’

All the above description of the gloominess of the house symbolizes the presence of a gloomy Usher. The physical appearance of the inner atmosphere of the building, the fungi, the crumbling stones, and the absence of light represent the bodily deterioration of Madeline and Rodrick.

4. The Bridge over the Lake

The bridge is a connection of the house Usher to the rest of the land. It represents the narrator who serves as the only connection of the family to the rest of the worth.

5. The collapsing of the building

Allen Poe has brought the destruction of the house to represent the linear fading of the Usher family. As soon as the last member of the Usher’s lineage dies, the house collapses which symbolizes the complete abolishment of the family.

Personification

The process of assigning human qualities and characteristics to non human non-living things. In the initial paragraph of the story, the narrator views the windows of the house as ‘upon the vacant eye-like windows’.

Poe uses this description to reveal the unpleasant and vacant situation of the house.

Foreshadowing

Poe has foretold the fate of his major character Rodrick through the description of the collapsing house.

Simile

Along with other literary elements, Poe has also made use of similes in the story. It is used to make comparisons between two various things. Simile makes use of the words ‘as’ and ‘like’. At the last of the story, the sound produced by the collapsing of the house in the water is smiled as;

‘There was a long tumultuous shouting sound like the voice of a thousand glasses of water.’

Hyperbola

Poe makes use of hyperbola to present his views exaggeratedly. He makes its use as;

‘The white trunks of decayed trees

Turn his heart to ice’ or

‘There was a long tumultuous

Sound like the voice of a thousand glasses of water

Alliteration

The repetition of the initial consonant sound. We see the use or alteration as:

‘During the whole dull, dark soundless in the autumn of the year.’

Structure

Poe has made use of first-person omniscient narration. The narrator takes us through both the physical and mental conditions of the major characters Madeline and Rodrick. There is a smooth chronology in the story as well, as the narrator takes a smooth start with the receiving of a letter from his old days friend. After giving a little background of their friendship, the narrator proceeds the story smoothly to the house of his friend Usher.

Flashback

It is used to provide background information by interrupting the ongoing act. Edgar Allen Poe’s works especially those which deal with psychology have projections of mental processes. Poe makes us aware of the relationship of his characters by providing a flashback into the past. As he writes;

‘Rodrick user had been one of my boon companions in boyhood, but many years have elapsed since our last meeting’

Conclusion

Edgar Allan Poe is known for projecting the numerous literary devices in his works. He has made use of these devices to portray madness, fear, tension, psychological effects, etc. All these devices contribute to the construction of a well-developed plot of the story. They also embellish the text and give a dense meaning to it.

References

    1. Ronald Carter. Issues in Pedagogical Stylistics published on February 8, 2010.
    2. Shannon Phillips. Symbolism: What to Look for in Stories. 2008.

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