Period 1 Smith
February 21, 2014
Rhetorical Analysis “Death of a Moth”
Annie Dilliard, a wellknown nature writer, in her piece “Death of a Moth” recounts an experience where she witnesses a moth get caught in the flame of a candle. Dilliard’s purpose in the passage is to convey the brutality yet beauty of nature through the death of a moth. She uses similes, choice diction regarding colors, and adopts a fascinated tone in order to portray her feelings about nature, that it can be brutal yet beautiful at the same time, for her general audience that reads her passages.
In “Death of a Moth”, Dilliard uses several similes such as “like a boiling fire glimpsed through silhouetted walls, like a hollow saint, like a flamefaced virgin gone to God” …show more content…
Colors affect people on an emotional level because there are certain associations with each one, and when Dillard uses at least seven different colors as adjectives for the moth, it was intended to tap into the emotional associations of the readers.
The diction with color words by Dillard is intended to appeal in pathos towards the readers.
Annie Dillard adopts a fascinated tone to convey her feelings of the brutality and beauty of nature. Her tone, evident in the lines “I must have been staring at the candle... I saw it all”, can also been seen through the perspective that such an extensive description was given to a simple action where a moth flies into a candle. Her numerous similes and comparisons, her vivid colors and imagery, and the fact that she is retelling a past experience in great detail supports the idea that aNnie Dillard was truly fascinated by the death of a moth.
Her tone alongside her use of personal pronouns and first person narration creates a sense of intimacy and awe between her and the reader, both tapping into the emotional appeal of her audience. She tell the story as if amazed by the beauty every time she recounts the events, and with the personal connection obtained through first person narration, the readers