”Masque of Red Death” & “Fall of Usher House” by Edgar Allen Poe
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Although The Masque of the Red Death and The Fall of the House of Usher are written in different view points, the fact that each method works well for each story is true because third-person helps to better oversee all the events taking place, first-person gives a heightened sense of intensity, and if each stories’ view point was switched then the two stories would not be the timeless classics that they are today.
The Masque of the Red Death, written by Edgar Allen Poe in the third-person point of view, is a horror fiction story where a prosperous and flashy king decides to keep his friends and family inside his of abbey in order to protect them from a Tuberculosis outbreak. The setting is that of a large party; many rooms and people all together dancing, talking, and enjoying themselves. Since the story is written in the third-person, the reader can overlook all happenings and events in the entire abbey and occasionally see things that will happen before they actually do. This can add excitement to stories such as this one. Knowing what is going to happen to whom and how gives a person the will to keep reading and discover what is going to happen next. If the reader knows the outcome, and the characters in the story do not, it makes for an interesting storyline. Just as in The Masque of the Red Death, readers knew that the masked person was there to take all of their lives via the Red Death, but nobody could really be sure of that while the grand party was going on.
The Fall of the House of Usher is another horror fiction story written by Edgar Allen Poe. It is set in a large, decaying, old house where many crazy and creepy things begin to happen, and the fear factor is raised while reading this story due to the fact that Poe wrote it in the first-person point of view. This viewpoint brings out more terror and instills more fear into readers because they feel what the main character or narrator feels. This can send chills up and down readers’ spines for the mere fact that some authors’, such as Poe, descriptions and explanations are so intense and in depth that it feels like they are actually a part of the story. Readers of The Fall of the House of Usher are let into the mind of the narrator; they can feel his feelings, hear his thoughts, and see his sights.
The point of view Poe chose for each of these stories well fits the plots of each. In The Masque of the Red Death, many people and many sights need to be seen in order to get the full effect of Poe’s writing. They need to overlook the entire abbey so they can get a good idea of the energy that was felt in each of the rooms and a feeling of adrenaline that is felt by each and every one of the people that noticed the masked being as the Red Death. If the first-person was used in this story, the reader wouldn’t have felt their heart drop as much as it did when they oversaw the partygoers realize the masked figure was indeed the Red Death.
Poe chose the first-person viewpoint for The Fall of the House of Usher for good reasons as well. He wanted to have readers feel and see exactly what the main character was going through. So he made Usher’s visitor a first-person narrator. The narrator could then give in depth descriptions of rooms, faces, events, etc. That could not have been achieved if Poe chose the third-person point of view for The Fall of the House of Usher because then he would have had to give less lengthy descriptions and broader accounts of the happenings that took place in the one and a half week span of the story.
Authors must choose which view point will best accent the message or feeling they are trying to portray in their story or writing. If the wrong point is chosen, the emotion of overall feeling the author is trying to show can just turn into a bunch of boring descriptions and accounts, pointless feelings, and senseless ramble. Deciding what emotion the author wants to instill into the reader must be decided upon before the writing process even takes place. One may have never truly realized the importance of the viewpoint in a story until they have had it explained to them here.