The house where Mr. Cardwell lives is one that can be described as gloomy and mystifying. The house inhabited by Mr. Cardwell, who lives in Loyola high school seemed to have absorbed a diseased and iniquity environment that was surrounded by muddy ponds and decaying vegetation. The compound of the house is a realm of darkness and the surroundings filled with dead bodies of students with their heads cut open. The gate of the house is dark and rusty, the walls are bleak and all the windows are broken.
One day, I passed next to his house and everything looked horrifying. Staggering in a dark alley, I saw a shed of light, calling my name from afar like angel from heaven. Coming closer, my eyes erupted like a bomb, what seemed to be an angel was actually a demon guarding the gates of the horrifying house. From my first view, I noted the dark, rusted gate, the bleak walls, and the shattered glass windows, and the shifted rooftop. I peered across the gate and saw the dusty sign, which said "Caldwell Asylum." As my body trembled, I began to turn away, but it was to late, I had caught the Demond's eye and he dragged me past the gate, and threw me across the dirt pathway leading to his house. I was trapped alone in a realm of darkness. I was quick to my feet, and as I stood up I noticed a distinct smell of death. I looked to both my sides and saw fields of bodies, students lying across the field with their heads cut open. Suddenly, there was a supernatural force that dragged me to the rigid front door. I quietly pushed the door open, and inside the house I noted the aged staircase, the cracked walls, ancient paintings, and of course the smell of death. Passing the long, unpleasant halls, I finally reached a underground vault where I sat on the cold floor feeling insecure.
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In spite of the presence of decaying matter surrounding the house in which Mr.Cardwell lived, the surrounding stones were also decaying, but the house itself was somewhat solid. The house had some cracks that extend from the roof to the floor. The house smelled of death.
Cardwell family has one member who has survived many generations hence creating a line of descent that lacks any outside branches. The Cardwell family has become the subject of the society that the peasantry complicates the occupants with the nature of the home, despite Mr.Cardwell being a teacher in Loyola high school. This is very ironic because Mr. Cardwell lived in a house that was not corresponding to his profession. Coming across him would make me tremble and lose focus, making me confused. The inside of the house in which he lived was as spooky as the outside of the house. To access his room, he has to pass through long and unpleasant halls. Cardwell suffers from the nerves and worries and his senses are high and seemed afraid of his house. When Cardwell’s sister dies, he buries temporarily under his house because he feared the doctor might exhume her body for cross-examination.
The narration on the house of Mr. Cardwell possesses quintessential characteristics of a gothic story: a haunted home, lackluster landscape, a doubled personality and mysterious sickness. For all its exclusive Gothic aspects, however, the part of the terror of the narrative on Mr.Cardwell is its ambiguity .We cannot be able to ascertain the setting in which the story unfolds. Rather than use of standard story markers of time and place, the story uses traditional gothic features, which comprises of stormy weather and unproductive landscape where my Cardwell lives. The description of the landscape has the only narrator and Cardwell’s visitor, and both of them cannot understand why they are there. His friend cannot describe him fully because he cannot understand comprehensively his lifestyle.
The story about the state of the Cardwell home unfolds without comprehensive explanation of the narrators’ intentions of coming to Cardwell house, and its vagueness. The relationship between the characters is affected by the mansion’s Claustrophobia. It is evidenced later in the game that Madeline and Roderick are twins. The occurrence of this realization takes place when two men are preparing to entomb Madeline. The confined and cramped setting of Madeline’s burial tomb spreads metaphorically to the characteristics of the characters. Due to the similarity of the twins, there was no possibility of them developing as free and liberal individuals. The burial of Madeline takes place before she was actually dead as a result of her identity to Roderick, that is likened a coffin holding her identity.
Besides, Madeline was also suffering from the problems in the 19th century. While Madeline is investing her entire identity in her body, she possesses the power in the narrative. This power is at times, superhuman. For instance, Madeline breaks out of the tomb. Therefore, her character contradicts that of Roderick, who is seen as nervous, weak, and having immobile disposition. According to some scholars, Madeline does not exist. She is reduced by these scholars as a shared figment of the narrator and Roderick. Despite this view, Madeline is proving to be central to the claustrophobic and symmetrical logic of the tale. Roderick is stifled by Madeline who prevents him from considering himself as fundamentally unique from her. Madeline finishes this attack by killing him at the end of the story.
Doubling spreads and reaches every section in the story. The narrative focuses on the Gothic characteristic of the character double, doppelganger, and reveals doubling as seen in inanimate structures as well as literary forms. The mansion is seen by the narrator, for instance as a reflection in a shallow pool or in the tarn, found in front of the mansion. The tarn’s mirror image doubles the house. However, it does the doubling in an upside down position. This portrays an inversely symmetrical relationship, characteristic of the relationship between Madeline and Roderick. The crossing of boundaries vitally constitutes the tale’s Gothic horror. From the experience of Poe as seen in the magazine industry, we know that he had an obsession with word games and codes. This narrative is an amplification of his obsessive passion and interest in naming. Cardwell refers not only to the family and the mansion, but also to the work of crossing a threshold, bringing the speaker into the perverse world of Madeline and Roderick. The letter by Roderick brings the narrator into an unknown world.
The narrator, who is not named, says that his actual name shall be mysterious, due to his wish to preserve the clarity of the pages preceding him. The narrator instead requires that we understand him throughout the story of crime and misery as “William Wilson.” The narrator explains that this story will describe his complete and sudden turn to evil. According to his personal belief, the narrator thinks that his excitable temperament is inherited from his parents, whom he describes them as dull-minded. He however manages to escape from his parent’s environment while he was still a young student. The narrator’s early memories go to a huge Elizabethan mansion in England where he attended school. The narrator’s description of the school is that it is a Gothic prison. The school has creaky hinges as well a spiked iron gate. The principal of the school is also acting as the church pastor and as a result he enforces the severe regulations of the school.
Despite the fact that his surroundings are severe, the narrator comes out as a brilliant student. He feels some superiority among his classmates, except for one student. The narrator says that this student is also named William Wilson. The narrator is affected by the second William Wilson such that he cannot have the mastery over his fellow classmates. The second William Wilson is therefore, the object of competition and fear to the narrator. The rivalry turns out to be more pronounced when the narrator learns that they were joining the school together on the same day.
Most of the students believed that they were brothers due to their identical styles of dress and body structure. When it came to the mode of speaking, the rival of he narrator spoke identically with the narrator, but the rival could not raise his voice more than a whisper. Despite this similarity, the narrator could yield to the fact that he was connected with his rival at any moment. However, the narrator admits that it was hard for him to hate his rival therefore, stayed in speaking terms. It did not take long before the relationship deteriorated. This deterioration was accompanied by a violent altercation between the two characters. This scuffle made the narrator to be more obsessed with his rival, since his infancy memories are evoked.
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