Voyant: “The Fall of the House of Usher”

Question: Why is the narrator of the story unnamed?

Going through Voyant was interesting as I found myself having to edit what words were stoplisted, as terms such as I, me, my, and name would not show up because they are very broad terms. The story is told in first person, which would put the pronoun “I” at the most mentioned. “I” was mentioned 171 times throughout the story followed by “my” at 54 and “me” and 43. What was really interesting was looking at the frequencies, especially for “I” as it began to pick up incredibly heavily in the last segment as the swell of emotions picked up and it seems to be mostly used by Usher just prior to his death. But throughout my search, nothing really seemed to pop out as to anything significant regarding the narrator’s identity in relationship to the actual reading/experience of the story.

While my question hasn’t really been answered, it brings up more questions of how we as readers experience stories through perspective and narration. For instance, how does the narrator influence our reading of what happens in “The Fall of the House of Usher”?  Does it really matter if the narrator is named or does is change credibility/reliability of his story? Thinking along the lines of other Poe stories, a lot of his narrator’s seem to be unreliable. Perhaps in the future it would be interesting to look at the different narrators that Poe has across several different stories and see what words are used in relation to them and see if there are common patterns.

One thought on “Voyant: “The Fall of the House of Usher””

  1. Yes . . . I’m not sure if your initial question is really answerable. However, the way you seem to reframe it, certainly is. I.e. what effect does an un-named narrator have on our reading of the story. As your Voyant analysis points out – – the story really is mostly about that narrator or about “me.”

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