Virginia Woolf ‘Death of a Moth’ is a captivating look into the phenomenon of mortality and the inevitability of death. This free essay sample examines the issue of death in modern society. Similar to popular representations of life in literature and poetry, this work specifies the metaphors of mortality. Woolf incorporates moth symbolism – death – into her piece of writing by describing a little moth as a drop of energy and pure life. Check the analysis of ‘Death of a Moth’ and other essays on our website as samples of college or university assignments.
The essay ‘The Death of the Moth’ by Virginia Woolf narrates her meeting with a moth when it fights outrageously to escape the window before it dies. The author's very first instinct is to help the moth with its struggle, but as she starts to do so, she realizes that the moth is plunged in the same inevitable battle faced by all living creatures in the world when they try to prevent being claimed by death.
By observing the moth’s death, the author is compelled to think over the philosophical lesson that incurs in a circular flow of life and death. ‘The Death of a Moth’ analysis shows that the author notices the death’s almighty inescapability but concludes that the ever-present chance of death serves as the main motivational force required for life to have meaning and value. The primary thesis is since death cannot be defeated, the way the being struggles to survive and save a life in its last minutes is more precious than the meaningless and mundane activities followed with apathy.
The author witnessed the moth trying to break through the windowpane and realizes that the little creature itself is a good metaphor for life. Although the moth shows the most simple and fruitless activity just flying from one side of the room to another, Virginia Woolf sees the “form of the energy”, the basic form of life that urges this little to find the way out. In the same manner, the human brain cannot remain still and unfocused.
The author admires her life, describing that day as a day full of ‘the possibilities of pleasure’. Ideas about the beauty of human life make the speaker feel sorry about the moth unable to notice the difference between the plain and complicated matters as well as catch the beauty of every moment. The insect’s life is so simple that it doesn’t know that it stands up against. Unlike people who realize their mortality, the moth continues to struggle against this unknown force, trying to overpower it.
People fill their lives with work that is mainly meaningless. Once they die, all their successes and achievements will vanish. The author sees people work outside and recognizes that their work will not have any lasting influence if these people unexpectedly disappear. All the trees and bushes will continue growing freely until the field will look absolutely different as if there had never been people before at all. Virginia Woolf concludes that we do not do anything that might have an everlasting effect, so our movements have no considerable value.
The author doesn’t perceive any value of life until the moth begins dying. The little creature feels the same thing that all the living beings do. She understands that although we live much longer and realize about life much more than any other creature, we still have to get a good grasp of what is life and death. We know so little about the death that it prevents us from cherishing life and its importance. Woolf comes to the conclusion that the only way to value something is to lose it.
Furthermore, people get frightened by numerous situations that might be deadly for us. Yes, we do not recognize them as dangerous. For instance, we drive cars or travel by plane, so we are constantly prone to fatal casualty. We are aware of it but still get in the car or plane, don’t use seatbelts and take our children and relatives with us. The author emphasizes that we forget about our security and safety because we lack the love of life, we do not cherish it until the very last minute when we die. Many people cannot unleash their potential to the fullest because they think there is always some more time left, but death comes suddenly regardless of whether we expect it or not.
To sum up, Virginia Woolf’s narrative essay “The Death of the Moth” compares the life and struggles of a fragile moth to the similar endeavors faced by human beings. Although the insect is an insignificant primal form of life only involved in eating and breathing, the author still regards its efforts to survive to the same struggles all people face in spending meaningful lives and dealing with obstacles with as much strength as she had just seen in the moth’s fight with death. When confronting death, people are just as frail and weak as the little moth and are helpless to escape their destiny. Yet, unlike the moth, people struggle to get as much fulfillment as the moth did with its pointless flights in the tedious tasks filling every minute of their life. All living being are mortals beating for time and forgetting to live this time to the fullest as long as they can.
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