A Comparison of Life and Death as Seen by Dillard and Woolf

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  • Topic: Death, Life, Tony Award for Best Musical
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  • Published : September 17, 2006
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A comparison of life and death as seen by Dillard and Woolf

Life and death both have different meaning to each person and that meaning can be greatly influenced by their life experiences. The two authors Annie Dillard and Virginia Woolf both expressed their views of life and death using the same symbol, a moth. It is apparent in both essays that the authors hold very different views though, in the end the fate of the moth turns out to be the same – death. This essay goes in detail into the meaning and lessons that each author had to offer, pertaining to life and death.

In Virginia Woolf's short essay The Death of the Moth, Woof placed a lot of significance on life before death. She gave a very detailed description of the life of the moth during the few hours it was alive. Woolf begins by describing the moth as not being as beautiful as a butterfly but yet content with life "They are hybrid creatures, neither gay like butterflies nor somber…". "Nevertheless the present specimen …seemed to be content with life" (Woolf, pg 1348). She compared the moth's energy to that of nature observed outside the window, and pitied him.

It was not till the moth began his struggle to remain alive and keep that energy did Woolf pay close attention once again. Woolf description of the moth fight against the inevitable- death, symbolizes man's desire to live and not die "I looked as if for the enemy against which he struggled" (Woolf, pg 1350). In one aspect, Woolf's perspective of death is viewed as an enemy, something that is not welcomed or embraced easily. On the other hand, Woolf acknowledges that death is inevitable and in the end, the moth showed acceptance towards death "…nothing, I knew had any chance against death. The moth having righted himself now lay most decently and uncomplainingly composed" (Woolf, pg 1350). Woolf believes that one should live their life and enjoy it to the fullest, because death is inevitable and no matter how much energy you have, you will...
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