Death of a Moth Critical Thinking

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Lujan, Ed
10/10/11
Lallier
per.3
Lang/comp

Thinking critically
The death of the moth by Virginia Woolf

1. In order to parallel the entire tone of the essay with the setting, the author uses months and seasons to amplify what she is feeling. The essay takes place at the end of September, entering autumn, a season associated with death, and change. The season foreshadows the authors’ belief in the consistency and inevitability of death. Almost showing it in a positive light, beautiful, much like autumn. Through this the author allows us to sympathize with a non-negative view of death, something natural, picturesque and unfailing 2. In paragraph two, Woolf has a very mournful attitude, relating the opportunities of her life comparable to that of a moth. However with this, she did not belittle the existence of the moth. His life, unappreciated as it may be was still important. “What he could do he did” what she could do she did. Little as it may be, or nonexistent as their freedoms seem, it is all they have, the only thing there is to cling to, what else was there. “He was little or nothing but life” her life was nothing, but the life inside her, her talent is what she mourns. The burden of having something, only you could appreciate. She mourns her life, as much as she mourns her limitations, the confinement of the moth. 3. This essay is packed with sensory detail. From the first sentence “dark autumn nights and ivory blossom which the commonest yellow-under wing asleep in the shadow of the curtain”. This makes us see something with an ugly connotation, shown in a bright, appreciative manor, creating a sympathetic relationship between her metaphor, and us, so that we don’t push aside the mercifulness because it is simply a moth. In the last two paragraphs, as well as the end of the first, she incorporates parallel imagery, a recurring up and down motion, capturing something, “cast up into the air; which after a few moments, sank slowly back...
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