The human mind naturally receives images of the frightening or even appalling. In the tale "The Fall of the House of Usher" by Edgar Allan Poe, the narrator is brought into an eerie world "DURING the whole of a dull, dark, and soundless day in the autumn" (204). The setting of this world inspires devastation for Roderick Usher and his twin sister, Madeline. This sense of doom shows throughout the House of Usher, the interior and exterior of the house, the landscape surrounding the mansion, and the strange tempestuous atmosphere of the house.
The House of Usher generates a sense of doom by its appearance as the narrator approaches. "The vacant and eye-like windows" of the manor first give the impression that the house is a large face. A minute fungus overspreads the whole exterior, hanging like web-work from the attic. The narrator can also see a barely distinguishable crack extending from the roof down into the pond. As the narrator crosses the threshold of the house into the gothic archway, he sees carvings on the ceiling, gloomy tapestries hanging on the walls, "ebon blackness of the floors, and large phantasmagoric armorial trophies. The rooms are very large and lofty, the general furniture profuse, comfortless, antique, and dilapidated" (205). Paintings hanging on the walls give the narrator a shudder every time he views the depressive scenarios. There is also a vault at a great depth below the mansion, a portion of the vaults floor and the whole interior of the long archway are sheathed with copper, the chamber is very small, damp, and entirely without means of admission for light. Even the door is made of massive iron and placed on great hinges that grind and make an awful noise as the narrator and Roderick open it.
The landscape around the mansion is doomed, which leads to the land being full of sadness and decay. The house appears on a landscape of "a few rank sedges and upon a few white trunks of decayed trees" (205).