Symbolism In Virginia Woolf's Death Of A Moth

Decent Essays

Virginia Woolf’s “Death of a Moth” may, at first glance, seem lackluster; however, her creative and impactful message is brilliantly hidden within symbolism that demands an abstract perspective. She uses imagery to describe a moth and personify its actions in order to present it as a symbol for life. Additionally, pathos throughout her work evokes emotions and prompts the analytical thinking needed to understand her underlying meaning. Thus, Woolf’s analysis about life is composed using symbolism, imagery, and pathos that combine to create a contemplative style and motivational purpose. Woolf’s essay is based on the symbolic meaning of the moth which she explicitly identifies as “little or nothing but life” (Woolf 57). Therefore, this “tiny bead of pure life” exists to “show us the true nature of life” which begins animated, innocent, and energetic, but eventually dwindles because it is overcome by “an oncoming doom” known as death (57). Juxtaposition is used because the moth is portrayed as a “tiny” and “pure” form of life while death is an unavoidable “doom.” The figurative meaning of this literal situation is examined as she says, “When there was nobody to care or to know, this gigantic effort on the part of an insignificant little moth, against a power of such magnitude, to retain what no one else valued or desired to keep, moved one strangely” (58). Here, Woolf is watching a small seemingly “insignificant” moth struggle to live while also observing the omnipotent

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