Comparing Poe’s Fall of the House of Usher and Gardner’s The Ravages of Spring

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Edgar Allan Poe’s The Fall of the House of Usher and John Gardner’s The Ravages of Spring

Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Fall of the House of Usher” and John Gardner’s “The Ravages of Spring” are two literary works which are unique; however, at the same time indistinguishably similar. Poe’s short story is a piece, which characterizes eighteenth century philosophy whereas Gardner’s tale is more modern. In fact, “The Ravages of Spring” is a story based on Poe’s “The Fall of the House of Usher,” which “contemporizes its horror” (Fenlon 481). Both stories are inexplicably gruesome and leave a reader overwhelmed by the bizarreness of the tales. Nevertheless it is the strangeness of the two stories that distinguishes them within the
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“The storm is equally omnipresent (as the house of Usher) and terrifyingly animate, a sick omen that hangs over the world of Southern Illinois” (Fenlon 482). Gardner refers to the tornadoes as “fatalistic…with a blue, almost black, sky moving across the world like a thrasher’s scythe” (Gardner 39). As Dr. Thorpe, the narrator of “The Ravages of Spring”, reaches the outer gates of the mansion he then comments that “three enormous cyclones are crazily swaying like black savages,” which enforces the uncanny tone that Gardner is exuding about the storm. “Descriptions of the storms raging through the landscapes reveal the terror pervading each place” (Fenlon 482). Therefore, both authors use exceptionally unnatural storms to emanate the eeriness of the tone of both stories. The storms also act as a force to drive the narrators into the discomforting houses, where the gothic tone is thus enhanced as the both stories progress. The tone that Poe and Gardner both exemplify when discussing the houses are even more unusual and ghostly than the essence of the outside land surrounding the houses. Poe peculiarly describes the house of Usher as having “vacant eye-like windows” and the landscape is composed of “white trunks of decayed trees” (Poe 397). Poe even furthers his morbid tone of the supernatural house by characterizing the walls as “bleak”, and the sedges as “rank” (Poe 397-398). Therefore, Poe deepens his gloomy expression of the house by

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