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The Fall of the House of Usher by Edgar Allan Poe

Lesson Plans by Kristy Littlehale

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Fall of the House of Usher Lesson Plans | Fall of the House of Usher Activities


Continuing his tradition of the creepy, weird, and Gothic style, Edgar Allan Poe does not disappoint in this short story about a strange family who finds its end in the most macabre of ways. Likely, the "fall" the title is referring to is both the actual structure of the Usher family’s house, and the fall of the Usher family itself, as both heirs die and end the family name.

For those looking for the quintessential Gothic tale, "The Fall of the House of Usher" highlights many important Gothic features, especially in the description of the house itself. The fact that the house, Roderick, and Madeline all seem to be affected by this crumbling, diseased-like atmosphere paints a bleak and supernatural picture that some have argued mirror the human psyche. Similar to other popular Poe tales, he uses Roderick Usher to explore his common themes of terror, death, and the fragility of the human mind.


Student Activities for The Fall of the House of Usher Include:



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Essential Questions for "The Fall of the House of Usher"

  1. How are elements of Gothic literature reflected in characters and setting?
  2. How can fear paralyze a person’s mind?
  3. What kind of mood can language and setting create?

Focusing on Gothic Style

"The Fall of the House of Usher" is a classic example of Gothic style. Get your students familiar with the Gothic style of writing and architecture first!

Gothic Writing

Setting Story is set in a bleak or remote location.

Plot The plot typically involves macabre or violent incidents.

Characters Characters are usually in a state of psychological or physical torment.

The Supernatural Often an otherworldly element is present and driving the plot.


Gothic Architecture

Tall, Sweeping Structures Very vertical, usually draws the eye upwards, to emphasize grandeur; inside usually features vaulted ceilings
Flying Buttresses Exterior architectural support that was just as ornate as the structure itself
Pointed Arches and Ribbed Vaults Ribbed vaults allowed for more windows, and pointed arches could reach higher while supporting more weight
Ornamentation Stained glass and carefully carved statues were typical features. These included Biblical scenes, figures, and even gargoyles


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Prefer a different language?

•   (English) The Fall of the House of Usher   •   (Español) La Caída de la Casa Usher   •   (Français) La Chute de la Maison D'Usher   •   (Deutsch) Der Untergang des Hauses Usher   •   (Italiana) La Caduta Della Casa Degli Usher   •   (Nederlands) De val van het Huis van Usher   •   (Português) A Queda da Casa de Usher   •   (עברית) נפילתו של בית אשר   •   (العَرَبِيَّة) سقوط بيت أشر   •   (हिन्दी) अशर के भवन की गिरावट   •   (ру́сский язы́к) Падение Дома Ашеров   •   (Dansk) The Fall of the House of Usher   •   (Svenska) Huset Ushers Undergång   •   (Suomi) Fall of House of Usher   •   (Norsk) The Fall of the House of Usher   •   (Türkçe) Usher Evinin Güz Dönemi   •   (Polski) Upadek Domu Ushera   •   (Româna) Caderea Casei Usher   •   (Ceština) Zánik Domu Usherů   •   (Slovenský) Pád Domu Usher   •   (Magyar) A Fall of Usher ház   •   (Hrvatski) Pad Kuće Ushera   •   (български) Падението на Къщата на Ушер   •   (Lietuvos) Iš Usher House Sumažėjimas   •   (Slovenščina) Propad Hiše Usher   •   (Latvijas) Krišana Nama Usher   •   (eesti) Fall of House of Usher