The Death Of a Moth

698 Words3 Pages
Although their titles are almost identical, Virginia Woolf’s “The Death of The Moth” and Annie Dillard’s “Death of a Moth” convey two separate themes. From two different time periods, Woolf and Dillard both formulate essays about the final seconds of the life of a moth, but they address many different and distinguishable meanings. In the context of Woolf’s essay, she addresses death and the fight that parallels with it. On the other hand, Dillard addresses new life in a moth, who is more than just a little bug. In “The Death of the Moth”, Woolf took on such a small and simple creature to represent something that was much bigger than anyone that has ever lived on this Earth. The process of life and death is inevitable, but to look at it from a 3rd person point of view is invigorating. Ironically published after Woolf’s own suicide, the reader is left wondering if she wrote this mirroring her own life, as a personal battle. Woolf mentions the “triumph” that the moth experiences. There was an “enemy against which he (the moth) struggled”. It didn’t really matter that the moth had made “extraordinary efforts” against the “oncoming doom”, because he “had no chance against death”. And after the moth had finally lost the battle, Woolf had recognized that “death is stronger than I am’. The imagery of a battle in these lines assists Woolf in her pity of life, or at least the life of that moth. The reader can thereby relate the pitiful life of the moth with that of Virginia Woolf’s own failure to “triumph” over death. Now turning the tables to Annie Dillard’s “Death of a Moth”, the reader experiences a bit more violence in the demise of the moth. Contrasting to Woolf’s aspect of death in her essay, Dillard focuses more on the physical casualties that plague the moth. “Her moving wings ignited like tissue paper” then “vanished in a fine, foul smell”. “Her six legs clawed,
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