The Moth and Woolf

Topics: Bloomsbury Group, Lytton Strachey, Life Pages: 3 (937 words) Published: November 3, 2013

The Moth and Woolf
Although a butterfly and a moth go through the same metamorphosis, butterflies are recognized as a symbol of elegance and freedom while moths are symbolized with darkness and captivity. People would consider moths as a worthless nuisance, but the author, Virginia Woolf, thinks otherwise. In The Death of The Moth, by Virginia Woolf, she examines the detrimental struggle of a moth seeking freedom by escaping through a closed windowpane to reach the outdoors. Woolf identifies the significance as of the moth, a small and unimportant creature, as still being blesses with the gift of life. Shortly after the moth’s attempts at liberation, it then runs out of energy and dies. Woolf praises the moth’s life, perseverance and relates the moth’s fate to her own. The moth’s foolish attempts were commendable as “He flew vigorously to one corner of his compartment, and after waiting there a second, flew across to the other. What remains for him but of the to fly to a third corner and then to the forth? ” (Woolf) The moth is trapped by a window whereas Woolf is also trapped by her mental illness. She experienced her first depressive episode at age 15, after the death of her mother and then her half-sister two years later. In 1904, after her father died, she experienced her second episode of depression and was briefly hospitalized. Sexual abuse from half-brothers also contributed to her mental illness. (Fitzpatrick)

Woolf‘s mental ill was later found out to be what is known now today as “bipolar disorder”. Bipolar disorder is when someone is experience an extreme emotion or feeling for no particular reason, for an extended period of time, and sometimes have psychotic symptoms such as delusions and hallucinations. However Woolf, unlike the moth, has the power to reason whereas the moth relies on instinct for their actions. For example, the moth’s first instinct is to escape...
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