There are many unanswered questions discovered in trying to interpret what Edgar Allen Poe really was writing about in his short story, "The Fall of the House of Usher." The question here is what really happened in the story? Did the house actually fall? Was Usher's account of the week accurate?.
G. R. Thompson writes an essay he calls "Explained Gothic ("The Fall of the House of Usher")" in which he searches for the cause of the terror in the story. In a close reading his critical essay, problems with his interpretation seem quite obvious. Thompson is consistently inconsistent. A main focus is the narrator and the way Usher and the house affect his sanity. Thompson continually points out the narrator's lack of a sound mind, yet he still tries to find reason for some of the bizarre things the narrator describes. Then, Thompson points out that maybe none of the story actually happened except in the narrator's mind. Thompson appears to be critical of the narrator, yet believes the house really fell. In other parts of the essay, Thompson questions the narrator's story. He does not remain constant in his thinking throughout the entire essay. Does he believe the narrator or not? He points out it may not have happened, but does not further investigate this. While Thompson writes of the mind of the narrator, at times he tries to reason with his story, other times he questions the accuracy of it. He makes assumptions based on the smallest detail.
Thompson's work is most likely to be scrutinized based on his display of the narrator. Thompson continually points out weakness in the mind of the narrator, yet is later found trying to reason out the peculiar details told by the narrator. The house is described as having "a barely perceptible fissure, which, extending from the roof of the building in front, made its way down the wall in a zigzag direction,".
Also inconsistent with Thompson is his discussion of the narrator's account of the fall of the house.