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The Death of the Moth

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Yuen Liu

AAP: Critical Writing WOrkshop

Instructor: Peter Thomas

Feb 23, 2017

Essay #2: The Two Moths

The Two Moths

    To explore the concepts of life and death, both Virginia Woolf and Annie Dillard’s essay use the metaphor of “the death of a moth”. Though the titles of their works are similar, the two women approach the subject very differently. In Virginia Woolf’s “The Death of The Moth”, the way in which death is represented a beautiful serene where even in death one is about being strong and willful. On the other hand, Annie Dillard’s “Transfiguration” shows death to be more of sudden, tragic event that no one can escape. Although their works are on the same subject matter, both essays has different perspectives on what the death of a moth or any living creature for that matter may be.

    In Virginia Woolf’s essay, Woolf became very detail on life before death. During the first few moments of the moth, Woolf began to talk about how pity she felt for the moth’s liveliness action “- sent the moth fluttering from side to side of his square of the window pane. One could not help watching him. One was, indeed, conscious of a queer feeling of pity for him” (Woolf, pg 266) The moth’s action is the definition of life, being able to go at it. That is what caught Woolf’s attention so much. Woolf understands that the moth’s liveliness can never be anything but a moth that no one really cares about because it’s an incest. That is why she pitied him because he will be forever titled as a moth till death.

    It was during the end till the moth began to struggle itself to remain alive it is when Woolf began to pay attention. Woolf saw the moth’s death as the desire to live “I looked as if for the enemy against which he struggles” (Woolf, pg 267). Part of Woolf viewed the enemy as death that was approaching to the moth, which the moth is trying to fight off. That one one really views death as welcoming even for the moth. However, in another Woolf’s perspective that death is inevitable and in the end, the moth show no more resistance “... ; nothing, I knew, had any chance against death” (Woolf, pg 268). Woolf acknowledges that she, herself will share the same fate as the moth’s death.



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