In almost every story you read, the narrator tries to grab a hold of your attention. They will try and use different points of view to accomplish capturing your interest. In the story, "The Fall of the House of Usher" by Edgar Allan Poe, he is a participant narrator that draws the reader's attention in numerous ways. To begin, the narrator in, "The Fall of the House of Usher" by Edgar Allan Poe, does not use the typical, first person point of view where the protagonist tells a personal account of a crime that he or she has committed. Instead, the narrator is a character of which we know little about, who acts like a participant. One way the narrator acts like a participant that draws you closer, is when he helps Usher bury Madeline.
The narrator responds to Usher's request for the burial "I personally aided him in the arrangements for the temporary entombment. The body having been en coffined, we two alone bore it to its rest" (780). The way the narrator takes part in the burial takes a hold of your awareness. The reader can feel either compassion for the narrator in helping his friend in a time of need or suspicion in Madeline's death. This makes you want to continue on reading to see what next could happen. Also, the narrator admits to being a participant in Usher's hysteria.
The condition of Usher terrified him in a way that infects him. He could feel the influence of his own fantastic yet impressive superstitions creeping upon him slowly. All of the characters suffer from the same type of mental disorder, insanity. The narrator, who is slowly but surely contracting the disease, wants to deny what he sees, hears and senses.
The narrator tries to convince Usher that "These appearances, which bewilder you, are merely electrical phenomena not uncommon- or it may be that they have their ghastly origin in the rank miasma of tarn" (782). The way narrator involves himself in the illness, shows how he continues to participate with the other main characters. By involving himself, the reader is drawn to finding out if he will contract it entirely or escape the madness. Second, the narrator acts as an observer in the story. The way the narrator examines his surrounds throughout the story, makes you feel what he is feeling.
By doing this, it is easy for the reader to become the friend in Poe's story. One good observation is when the narrator speculates that Madeline may not be completely dead yet. Studying her face, he notes "The disease which had thus entombed the lady in the maturity of youth, had left, as usual in all maladies of a strictly cataleptic al character, the mockery of faint blush open the bosom and the face, and that suspiciously lingering smile upon the lip which is so terrible in death" (781). While continuing to bury her he never mentions his suspicion to his friend.
The narrator automatically turns away from the unpleasant truth by trying not to believe what he is seeing. In addition, the narrator also notes the changes he sees in his friend. Over time Usher's appearance has changed. He notices "now in the mere exaggeration of the prevailing character of these features, and of the expression they were wont to convey, lay so much of change that I doubted to whom I spoke" (774).
Also, he observes Usher and concludes that his friend has a mental disorder. He learns that "moreover, at intervals, and through broken and equivocal hints, another singular feature of his mental condition. He was enchanted by certain superstitious impressions in regard to the dwelling which he tenanted" (775). He tries to look for natural scientific explanations for what Usher senses. Sometimes, the tone of the narrator suggests that he cannot understand Usher and his mental disorder. By observing his friend, this makes the reader interested to see if he does or want to help his friend with his illness.
Last, the narrator in the story is a minor character that is told in first-person participant point of view. By being told that way, it makes you feel part of the story. When the narrator uses 'I' throughout the story, it echoes the 'I' already in your own mind. There are some advantages for the reader, when the story is told in first-person participant point of view. The reader sees what the individual 'I' character perceives.
By having an eyewitness account, it gives immediacy that makes it realistic. The narrator can also approach other characters as closely as one human being can approach another. The narrator may also contribute to the dramatic irony; there is a discrepancy between what the narrator knows and what the reader understands. The last advantage is the first-person participant narrator can summarize events and retreat from a scene to meditate on its significance.
This story has all these advantages that allows the reader to view the story through the narrator's eyes. As well, the narrator being a minor character draws you in a little closer. Although, the reader knows little about the narrator's character, he appears to be a man of common sense. He seems to have a good heart in that he comes to help a friend from his childhood. The reader can also sense that he is educated and analytical. However, the reader can see that the narrator is superstitious.
When he looks upon the house, even before he had met Usher, he observes "There can be no doubt that the consciousness of the rapid increase of my superstition-for why should I not so term it? -served mainly to accelerate the increase itself" (773). From this point, the reader can tell that this is the development of the narrator's initial uneasiness into a frenzy of terror, engendered by and parallel to Usher's superstitions. By the narrator having all of these characteristics, it allows the reader to feel that the story is realistic in some parts of it. Throughout the story the narrator attribute his fantasy to his subjective perceptions. The reader never knows what is real, what is a dream or the product of mutual hysteria. This lets the reader feel that the narrator is human.
Being able to relate to the narrator, it makes the reader want to continue to read the story. In conclusion, in the story, "The Fall of the House of Usher" by Edgar Allan Poe, he is a participant narrator that draws the reader's attention in several ways. The narrator participates, observes and is a minor character that is told in a way that many readers can connect with. By connecting with the narrator, it reaches out for the readers' attention.
The attention of the reader is important because it allows the reader to enjoy the entire story. Many may feel that Poe does an outstanding job using the participant narrator in his stories. By doing that, it makes people part of the story, which readers enjoy.