Award Date


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

First Committee Member

Robert Dodge

Number of Pages



This study focuses on an examination of madness in four short stories by American author Edgar Allan Poe: "Ligeia," "Eleonora," "The Black Cat," and "The Fall of the House of Usher." Using Walter Fischer's theoretical communication framework, the Narrative Paradigm, the four stories are examined for narrative fidelity and narrative probability in an effort to more fully understand Poe's treatment of madness in first person narrators; "Ligeia" and "Eleonora" are compared as stories of a lost lover and the subsequent possibilities for madness due to guilt over marrying someone else. Next, "The Black Cat" is examined with a focus on the narrator's madness driving him to seek more and more severe forms of self-punishment due to guilt over violent abuse of his pet cat. Finally, "The Fall of the House of Usher" is examined as a look into the process of folie a deux, or shared madness.


Edgar Allan Poe; Mad; Narrative; Paradigms; Reality

Controlled Subject

American literature

File Format


File Size

1.69 MB

Degree Grantor

University of Nevada, Las Vegas




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