【F&SF】愛倫坡——厄舍府的沒落(The Fall of The House of Usher)

愛倫波的短篇集很多。而這篇也算是很有名的一篇,應該很多都有收錄。就不特別指出是那一本了。(不過大師的身影這本不錯,譯文應該是相對完整,插圖也很棒。)

這或許並非愛倫坡寫作本篇的本意,但我一直覺得厄舍府的沒落其實是在講一段害怕出櫃與告白的同性戀故事。

當敘事者述說有關他與羅德里克厄舍一起渡過的童年時,沒有任何跡象顯示他知道羅德里克還有一位妹妹瑪德琳小姐。他甚至並不那麼確定瑪德琳小姐的名字,而在她的名字第一次出現時,附記了「因為別人是這麼稱呼她的」。這對從小一起長大,對對方家中事物「從幼年時就習以為常」的敘事者來說,其實是有些奇怪的。

瑪德琳小姐的存在,是一直到羅德里克「吞吞吐吐地承認」這位他心愛的妹妹是他「莫名憂鬱」的來源,這時候才被確認。而當羅德里克在告訴敘事者有關瑪德琳小姐的事情時,「她悄悄地從房間另一頭經過」。她是「與羅德里克有著相似面貌的雙胞胎」,而在羅德里克對敘事者說完有關瑪德琳小姐的事情之後,他們接下來好幾天都沒有再提到她的名字。

我認為瑪德琳小姐或許只是羅德里克的女性面相,她/他對兒時玩伴無法忘情,但卻又害怕貿然告白會破壞原本的友情,也害怕同性戀的身份曝光時可能遭受社會責難甚至迫害。因此他說「我害怕即將發生的事,不是害怕事情本身,而是害怕事情的結果。」他接受瑪德琳的存在,也愛瑪德琳,但他害怕一旦她的身份曝光時,他們(?)會遭受的事情。

因此羅德里克與敘事者最終仍決定親手將瑪德琳埋葬。但羅德里克很清楚她從未真正死去。而這份否定自我的罪惡感也終導致他本人的毀滅。


This may not be the original intention of Poe’s writing, but I have the feeling that The Fall of The House of Usher is a story about a gay who feared to come out and denied himself.

When the narrator told us about his childhood spent with Roderick Usher, there was no any clue to his sister lady Madeline. The narrator even did not sure her name thus he put the “for so was she called” note on her. This is a little bit weird for one who was so familar with his friend’s house that he viewed things there as “accustomed from my infancy.”

The existence of lady Madeline was not revealed until Roderick admit WITH HESITATION, that his peculiar gloom could be traced to his beloved sister. Just when Roderick was telling the narrator about her, lady Madeline passed slowly through the apartment and DISAPPEARED. After this admission, her name was unmentioned by either Roderick Usher or the narrator as if it was a taboo to name her. And later we would find that Roderick and Madeline had been twins with similitude and sympathies of a scarcely intelligible nature.

I think that lady Madeline might be Roderick’s female face. She/he loved a childhood playmate, the narrator, but fear that her/his love announcement would ruin their original friendship. He might also fear that the exposure of his homosexual identity may bring him social censure or even persecution. This situation can be seen in his own words[1]. He accepted the presence of Madeline and saw her as beloved. Yet he was afraid of what himself and she would suffer once her identity exposured.

Ultimately Roderick and the narrator decided to bury Madeline by their own hand, but Roderick was very clear that she never really died. The guilty about self-deny eventually lead to his own doom.

  1. “I dread the events of the future, not in themselves, but in their results. “

同學互評結果

格式(Form)

  • student1 → I’ve graded this essay with a 2 on form because the way it is written makes it clear enough for me to understand what you are trying to express. However, there are several problems with grammar, so I would suggest more careful proof-reading and having a look at this site, which lists plenty of resources that can be helpful for you: http://www.cws.illinois.edu/workshop/writers/ Some corrections: – there was no any clue -> there was no clue – The narrator even did not sure her name -> the narrato was not even sure of her name – until Roderick admit WITH HESITATION, that -> until Roderick admits with hesitation that (what’s with the capital letters here? If you really, really feel the need to emphasize, you should use italics, never capital letters. And this should be done sparingly). – but fear that -> but feared that – self-deny -> self-denial Also, the Works cited box should be used to include bibliographical information about the works you have cited. The quotations should go in the main box. –
  • student2 → You form is ok, but it could use some more editing, for example within your second paragraph you write “there was no any clue” this need sto be “not any”. Similarly, “the narrator did not even sure” this should be “the narrator was not even sure of”. This kind of editing can be tricky, especially within your own work. I find showing my work to someone I trust to edit really helps, because I can never see my own mistakes.
  • student4 → My only comment about the form is never use capital letter words in the essay. It looks like you are shouting. There are other options such as italic or bold characters.

內容(Content)

  • student1 → I’m sorry, but I don’t think your argumentation supports itself in any meaningful way. I promise I’m far from close minded on the gay angle on principle, but I’m just not convinced of the point you try to make in this essay. I think you are deliberately ignoring parts of the text in order to get your argument to make sense, and I don’t see how this can enrich the reading of anyone. I suggest you pick your thesis more carefully and find enough evidence to support it before you start drafting your essay.
  • student2 → Interesting content, I hadn’t thought of them being a two-faceted single person, good thesis. However, I felt that the use of the personal pronoun in statements like “I think” isn’t really apprpriate for these kinds of essays. It may be what you think, but rather than say that you need to be more forceful. Say “The Fall of the House of Usher represents the homosexual” your thesis will then prove it. I already know it is what you think, you wrote it 🙂 By writing like it is fact, you are more convincing and come across as more legitimate.
  • student3 → Very different idea, you exposed your thoughts with originality and persuasiviness, very nice. Try not to write so much that this and that are your ideas, isn’t very academic.
  • student4 → I like that this is a new idea and new experiment. However, I’m not so convinced by your argument. Maybe you need to explain why the situation you described is the reason that you think your argument is correct.

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