The Death Of The Moth Essay By Virginia Woolf

The Death of the Moth by Virginia Woolf Essay

761 Words4 Pages

‘The Death of the Moth” by Virginia Woolf

Death is a difficult subject for anyone to speak of, although it is a part of everyday life. In Virginia Woolf’s “The Death of the Moth”, she writes about a moth flying about a windowpane, its world constrained by the boundaries of the wood holding the glass. The moth flew, first from one side, to the other, and then back as the rest of life continued ignorant of its movements. At first indifferent, Woolf was eventually moved to pity the moth. This story shows that life is as strange and familiar as death to us all. I believe this story was well written and will critique the symbolism, characters, and the setting.

Woolf uses symbolism in her essay when she speaks of the moth and…show more content…

This symbolism Woolf applies to everyday human life, making us understand that death will all happen to us one day, when it is our time. There is no escaping death when it comes for us.

The character of the moth and the way that Woolf’s story unfolds makes you, as a reader, feel as if you are there actually watching the moth die. Her descriptions of the moth’s flight and the struggle against death as he lived his life that day involves you in the mourning of someone or something you love dying. You feel every movement that Woolf saw in the moth’s life that day by reading this essay. As Woolf describes how the moth “flew vigorously to one corner of his compartment, and after waiting there a second, flew across to the other, “ you can feel the moth’s movements (1178).

In Woolf’s essay, the battle between life and death is somehow seen as both pathetic and noble. Pathetic because death will always win regardless the desire for life; but noble in how one faces death – on our back, defeated, or on our feet, and in dignity. Woolf states “one could only watch the extraordinary efforts made by those tiny legs against an oncoming doom which could, had it chosen, have submerged an entire city, not merely a city, but masses of human beings; nothing, I knew, had any chance against death” and shows the moth’s courageous journey into death (1179). “As I looked at the dead moth, this minute wayside triumph of so great a force over so mean

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The Death of the Moth by Virginia Woolf Essay

735 Words3 Pages

The Death of the Moth by Virginia Woolf "The Death of the Moth," written by Virginia Woolf, explains the brief life of a moth corresponding with the true nature of life and death. In this essay, Woolf puts the moth in a role that represents life. Woolf makes comparisons of the life outside to the life of the moth. The theme is the mystery of death and the correspondence of the life of the moth with the true nature of life. The images created by Woolf are presented that appeal to the eye. For instance, the moth's body during the death is appealing to the eye. The image makes the reader more interested. The essence of true life is energy. As Woolf describes, "I could fancy that a thread of vital light became visible. He was…show more content…

Then, as the essay continues, Woolf begins to be more interested and starts to feel a sense of pity or sympathy for the moth. As described here, "Watching him, it seemed as if a fibre, very thin and pure, of the enormous energy of the world had been thrust into his frail and diminutive body" (426-427). This sentence shows Woolfs' attitude starting to change towards the moth. In the beginning of the essay, Woolf does not show the interest like she does towards the end of the essay. When the moth starts to go through death the tone changes dramatically and Woolf is a state of wonder and awe for the moth.
When the moth is dying Woolf uses lengthier sentences to bring out the importance of the situation:
One could only watch the extraordinary efforts made by those tiny legs against an oncoming doom which could, had it chosen, have submerged an entire city, not merely a city, but masses of human beings; nothing, I knew, had any chance against death. (428)
The lengthier sentences also help to explain the wonder and awe that Woolf expresses towards the moth. The wonder and awe that she expressed was due to the power and inevitability of the death. Woolf was in awe that death is inevitable and that she could not do anything about it. The next stylistic device is personification. By definition personification is to think of or represent as having human qualities or life. Woolf applies this device to

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