Hidden Meaning of Woolf’s “The Death of the Moth”

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Essentially, I like “The Death of the Moth” the most because this reading has a deep meaning related to the struggle of life. The story compares a moth’s insignificant fight to the daily problems of human existence. Nonetheless, I argue that the story’s hidden meaning refers to the moth as a symbol that represents humans, their struggles to survive in this world, and that the inevitable experience of death is a part of the lifecycle. Woolf emphasizes that death is a significant part of our life “nothing, I knew had any chance against death” (6). The trapped moth exerted so much effort to free itself that the author felt a pang of sympathy for the imprisoned creature. Like humans fighting for survival, the moth fights with the obstacle it faces, but in the end, death is unavoidable. Correspondingly, I believe the author informs that we all have relatively short lives that have an insignificant impact on the rest of the world and that death ultimately will end our struggles.

The author observes the moth without intervening to assist; she realizes that the moth has not entirely lost the hope to survive, as if it still has much to strive for in its life. Ahmed contends that Woolf adopts a commonplace position inside and outside, almost like a window (Ahmed 1000). She compares the energy of life to what drives a moth to try to escape through a window (Liu). Additionally, Woolf is busy writing, but she is also aware of a dayflying moth, and she enters into its existence through hers. Therefore, the author compares the moth and its struggle to the meaning of life, “I could fancy that a thread of vital light became visible. He was little or nothing but life” (Woolf 6). Woolf writes that the moth finally accepted that death is inevitable despite all efforts, “O yes, he seemed to say, death is stronger than I am” (7). The most significant part humans can do is die with dignity, and it is the only that we have in our lives.

Therefore, the author aims at conveying the message that we can learn the meaning of life by fighting for it, as the moth does, and struggling to overcome its challenges. While nature’s power of death cannot be controlled, a correct position can be achieved (Ahmed 1000). It was even more uplifting when the hay colored moth was regarded as an unnoticed other:” 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” (Woolf 6). From my perspective, the author acknowledges the fight against death is more crucial than both death and life.

Even though the moth appears to be a small creature, the author is captivated by its passion and desire to live; it made me curious. People, like this moth, work hard to survive, even though they will all die at the end of this cycle. As a result, their efforts are as pointless as the moth’s flights from one corner to another. The author recognizes that, although we live and know far more about life than any other creature, we have yet to grasp the concept of death. To conclude, humans are so entirely ignorant of death that this unawareness prevents us from appreciating life and its worth.

Works Cited

Ahmed, Mohammad Kaosar. “Ecofeminist Tendencies in Virginia Woolf, Doris Lessing and Arundhati Roy.” International Journal of English Literature and Social Sciences, vol. 4, no. 4, 2019, pp. 997-1002. Web.

Liu, Bessie. “Thoughts on Woolf’s “The Death of the Moth””. The Johns Hopkins News-Letter, 2017. Web.

Woolf, Virginia. The Death of the Moth and Other Essays. Harcourt, 1942.