“the Death of the Moth” Bby Virginia Woolf

968 Words4 Pages
In the late 1800s many writers had a fascination with nature. One such writer was Virginia Woolf who chose to base her essay “The Death of the Moth” on the eternal struggle between life and death for the titular creature. This essay while giving off the façade that death is a simple matter, proves it to be a complex tribulation even for a creature as insignificant as the moth. Although the title gives the illusion that the essay will focus of the death of the insect, the speaker allows an introspective into its life allowing the reader to establish a connection with the animal that would in any other situation be considered as meaningless as stepping on an ant while walking down the street. The essay starts by describing the moth by saying, “They are hybrid creatures, neither gay like butterflies nor sombre like their own species.” The speaker says this to make it clear to the reader the moth she was about to describe was neither to be grouped with the rest of its melancholic species nor to be grouped with the butterfly, a far more cheerful species. Virginia Woolf seems to be the speaker in this piece. She tells the story of the moth as if she sees it with her eyes. She described it saying, “He flew vigorously to one corner of his compartment, and, after waiting there a second, flew across to the other.” The movements of the moth seemed to arouse an excitement inside of her, more than a mere curiosity. As we go deeper into this essay we learn more about the moth, allowing us to form a connection with this moth that in other situations we would have no appreciation for. Woolf’s characterization of the moth opens the door for the reader to explore new feelings for a life form more “insignificant” than our own. As the moth catches the attention of the speaker, we embark on a journey with the speaker almost as if we were watching the moth ourselves. There arises the
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