The Death of the Moth

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The Death of The Moth AP English III Summer Assignment 8/19/12 Virginia Woolf’s essay “The Death of The Moth” is a piece that is effective in conveying her ideas through the use of imagery, symbolism and tone. By using the moth as a metaphor for humans, she shows that the way the moth lives its life is a model for human life. Her overall use of conciseness, both in her language and the physical structure of the essay, serves to both convey her ideas and to provide her with powerful images. Woolf shows writers that it is not as important of the quantity of words as much as the manner in which one says these words. Overall, as a person disconnected with the occupations of “reader” and “writer,” Woolf’s essay helps me to see that the most needs to be made out of life, because we are here for only a short time. Woolf’s essay, although describing the short life of a day moth, is also used as an interpretation on human life. Through her language, she effectively implies how the life of the moth is a model for humans to live their lives. The imagery shows the moth to be a “thread of vital light.” Even though this moth may seem irrelevant, it is exerting all of its energy into its life. He flutters around the window, not only with energy, but with “passion,” something Woolf suggests that humans should be doing. Virginia Woolf valued the life of the moth as evidenced by her tone and the diction she used to describe the moth. Woolf uses diction like “vigorous”, “garnished”, and “marvelous” when describing the moth’s outward appearance. Humans all need that energy that possesses the moth; one needs to be consumed with vitality in order to make the most of our “inconsequential” lives. In our daily lives we face adversities and situations hard to overcome yet we find ways to keep on going and survive. However similarly to the moth death is something we cannot overcome.

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