The novel “The Fall of the House of Usher” is definitely unlike most of Edgar Allan Poe’s stories. To start with, the story is narrated from the standpoint of the first person. The first couple of pages are filled with description of things in view, the person’s thoughts, and feelings evoked by everything that surrounds the narrator. First, we come to know his fist impression and the matter that brings him there; later, we are given pretty vivid description of the house and the impression that it gives to the protagonist “upon the vacant eye-like windows—upon a few rank sedges—and upon a few white trunks of decayed trees—with an utter depression of soul which I can compare to no earthly sensation more properly than to the after-dream of the reveller upon opium—”.
In this story, the protagonist, unlike in the typical Poe’s novel, is the person we know the least about. We do not even know his name; only couple of times he is called “Madman”. The story is told from the first person perspective, and the lack of information about the narrator allows the reader to feel the story from within as if being that friend.
The narrator is not delusional unlike the other people in the house. However, later on, he goes on the mental journey accompanied by the number of mystical events. All we know is that he is close childhood friend of the antagonist. The sanity of the narrator comes into question when he starts hearing sounds that correspond to the story he is reading to his childhood friend. The fact that Roderick calls him “Madman” two times even raises the interest into his matter. The Madman is the dynamic character in this story; he transfers from sanity to some questionable mental state and back. When we meet the character first time, there are no clues that put us under impression that he is mentally deranged. When the narrator meets his friend, the contrast between them (the mentally and physically ill representative of Usher family and his mentally sound friend) only reassures us of his sanity: “He was enchained by certain superstitious impressions in regard to the dwelling which he tenanted, and whence, for many years, he had never ventured forth – in regard to an influence whose supposititious force was conveyed in terms too shadowy here to be re-stated”.
With the death of the twin sister, Madeline Usher, things start to change. It is as if the gruesomeness and creepiness of the manor are getting to our narrator At this point, the judgment of the protagonist’s sanity is something every reader has to decide for oneself. ”At the termination of this sentence I started and, for a moment, paused; for it appeared to me (although I at once concluded that my excited fancy had deceived me”. He starts leaving in the unison with the house soaked in the sense of decay and morbidity. This delusion fades away only when the building finally collapses putting the end to the madness of the past events. After that, the observer seems to fall back into his normal self. It is more noticeable at the moment when he reads the book and through the following events up until the fall of the house of Usher “my brain reeled as I saw the mighty walls rushing asunder”.
To conclude, it is fair to say that the narrating character is the sanest person out of all whom we meet in this novel. Nevertheless, by the end of the book, he goes on a trip of delusion, during which his mental health is questionable, but we cannot necessarily say that he has gone nuts. When the house collapses, things go back to the normal state.