The Death Of The Moth By Virginia Woolf Analysis

Virginia Woolf’s short essays, “The Death of the Moth” and “Three Pictures” are both about death, in particular about how death is inevitable and futile to be fought against, and representative of Woolf’s life, in relation to her own suicide. Through rhetorical devices, tone, fragmentation, and metaphors, Woolf manages to incur sympathy for the moth and the widow.

Both essays have a narrator that is an outsider, observing. In “The Death of the Moth,” the narrator is observing the moth and in “Three Pictures,” the narrator observes pictures and people. Woolf notably references class in Three Pictures, with “if my father was a blacksmith and yours was a peer of the realm” in order to convey that the imagination is necessary in order to familiarize themselves with one another, since the two are so different in regards to their social standing. A peer of the realm refers to “a member of the highest social order in a kingdom.”

Virginia Woolf (1882-1941) lived through the Victorian to the modern world. Her fragmented style, which she is well known for, is characteristic of Modernist writing. Victorian times, angel, pureness in the household.

From “The Death of the Moth,” the reader can gain from the essay that
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A characteristic of modernism is the detachment from the subject (cite). The tone in turn develops and sustains a sympathy for the moth. Describing the moth as “frail” as well as “pathetic” emphasizes the helplessness of the moth. Word choices that include “superb” and “gigantic effort” demonstrate the exorbitant effort that the moth manifests despite its “helplessness” and “awkwardness”, and in turn, supports the creation of a sense of dread. Woolf aptly describes the struggle as “marvellous as well as pathetic.”, conveying the theme that regardless of how one goes about trying to avoid it, death is inevitable, despite a valiant

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