"During the whole of a dull, dark, and soundless day in autumn of the year, when the clouds hung oppressively low in the heavens- is the opening in "The Fall of the House of Usher" by Edgar Allen Poe (1). This sentence sets the mood of this gothic tale of death and the supernatural. This story involves a unique setting which acts out the story by itself. Much emphasis is placed on the portrayal of the house from the unknown narrator. Although the use of imagery is used to help develop a setting, Poe also uses atmosphere to give the reader a better understanding the narrator and the position that he is put in.
Through the use of imagery the mood is set or foreshadows what is expected to come. The presence of the "mansion of gloom" causes the reader to think that only evil and death shall come from the house (2). Imagery, when used correctly, can be a mighty weapon that gives the reader an idea of what the setting is and how it affects the outcome of the story. In the introduction of the story the narrator approaches a house of a long time friend, Roderick Usher, and has a "sense of insufferable gloom pervading my spirit" (4). To the narrator the windows seem to be "vacant" and "eye-style" and the narrator goes on to observe the "rank edges," and the "black and lurid tarn," in which he sees the reflection of the house. He later says "when I again uplifted my eyes to house itself, from its image in the pool, there grew a strange fancy- (4). .
Roderick's mansion is another way that Poe used imagery. There is "barely perceptible fissure" in the masonry. It is a small crack in "the House of Usher" which the narrator defines as "both the family and the family mansion." This allows the reader to foresee an event that will ruin the house and the family. The fissure divides the house. Roderick and Madeline die, destroying their family. From far away, no one knows that he, "House of Usher" is in despair.