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McMansions and haunted houses in literature and movies.

This twinning of ugly house and haunted house is a long-standing feature of American ghost stories; alongside Hawthorne’s novel is Poe’s House of Usher, with its “bleak walls,” “vacant eye-like windows,” and “rank sedges,” all of which combine to engender in the narrator “an utter depression of soul.” In attempting to unravel the mystery of the house’s façade and why it instills in him such unease, the narrator repeatedly tries—and fails—to name the source of his terror. The wrongness of the house seems to stem from some contradiction between its overall façade and its individual elements: “No portion of the masonry had fallen; and there appeared to be a wild inconsistency between its still perfect adaptation of parts, and the crumbling condition of the individual stones.” Though the Usher mansion is old, the residence of a long-decayed aristocracy, Poe’s description of the house in some ways mirrors Kate’s description of McMansions: an architectural hodgepodge, in which the individual elements, out of sync with one another, add up to an overall sense of unease and disgust.

via McMansions and haunted houses in literature and movies.

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