Among the many different genres of short stories, those that heighten the senses have captivated and stretched the imagination of all ages. One of today's more recognizable short story authors, Edgar Allan Poe, is well-known for his use of Gothic mood to increase the mentality of his readers. Gothic is a term used to express dark novels that are filled with an atmosphere of fear ("Gothic Novel" 1). Poe is notorious for pushing the envelope and creating pieces of work that shake the nerves. A short story that does just that, Poe's "The Fall of the House of Usher," uses a number of different methods to influence the overall Gothic mood. The unmistakable setting, the symbolic illusion of the House of Usher, and the internal affect that events have on the characters greatly contributes to the Gothic mood of Edgar Allan Poe's "The Fall of the House of Usher."
Perhaps influencing his style of writing, Poe was thrown into tragedy at an early age. Born in Boston, Massachusetts on January 19, 1809, Edgar Allan Poe was only three years old when his father, David Poe, left (Kopacz 861). Edgar Allan Poe's mother, Elizabeth Arnold, was a talented actress who sadly soon died after Poe's father left. Following his mother's death, Poe was taken in by John Allan, a thriving merchant living in Richmond, and his wife, Frances Allan. Allan was known as a stern and detached man, and his wife was known as slightly "overindulgent" (Carlson 304). Despite the fact the Allan's were Poe's new family, he was never legally adopted by the Allans; however, Poe did take their last name as his middle name. Due to the growing success of Allan's business, Poe went with Richmond again for five years. Increasing the Allan's status, a large sum of money was obtained in 1825 after Allan's uncle died; nonetheless, Poe was still considered as an outside by Richmond's privileged because his parents were actors (Carlson 304). Perhaps Poe's way of rebelling, he got engaged to Ms. Sarah Elmira Royster. Unfortunately, no parental approval was given and Sarah and Poe never got married to John and Frances to England.