Death Of The Moth Analysis

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In Virginia Woolf’s essay “The Death of the Moth”, the author witnesses a common day moth struggle through its last moments of life, causing her to ponder her mortality. It is like any other ordinary day, a “pleasant morning, mid-September, mild, benignant”, as Woolf reads a book, gazing out the window here and there (125). This essay is speculated to be Woolf’s reflection on suicide, as she drowned herself what is believed to be shortly after she wrote “The Death of the Moth”. It was published posthumously, and includes her examinations of the life and death of a small moth. Woolf is content with the fate of death that all living creatures will know. Woolf watches the moth, full of zest despite his “meager opportunity” for life, as he flies…show more content…
Her discussion focuses on the education of women as a way for them to take control of being alive. She introduces her essay with an analyzation of the “ethical and intellectual contract between teacher and student”, insisting it is essential for women to claim their own lives and an education for themselves (297). This contract pertains to the “mutual seriousness” about women and their education that is required by each party in order to help women achieve their goals and live their lives for themselves (301). Throughout the essay, Rich repeatedly reminds readers to claim an education, and to take what they deserve instead of accepting a stereotypical housewife role, where their husband is the only one who is well educated. Rich refers to education as an “essential experience” in taking responsibility towards yourself (298). Educated people are more beneficial to society, and taking responsibility for yourself is a necessary course of action in our ever-changing world. Without education, you are living through those around you, and not fulfilling your own desires or reaching your true potential (299). It is easy enough, as a woman, to potentially rely on good looks to skate through life, but Rich implores women to challenge themselves and be more than just a pretty face. Rich suggests that education is, in her opinion, the singularly…show more content…
In Woolf’s essay, she observes death and comes to accept that we will all experience it at some point, which in turn adds a significant amount of meaning to life. Rich encourages readers not to waste their life by taking the easy way out and failing to be educated, but rather to live for themselves and pursue an education. Until a woman takes responsibility for herself and gets an education, she is not fully experiencing life and is, therefore, missing out. A waste of a mind is equated to a waste of life by Rich as she says “our bodies and minds are inseparable in this life” (299). This idea holds true for the duration of our time on Earth, and supports Woolf’s observations of the transition from life to death. Our body is the membrane for our mind to operate out of, but does not capture the consciousness; when death calls, the mind and body separate. This knowledge of separation provides us with two obvious options of how to live our lives: with minimal effort and a pessimistic attitude that our days are numbered anyways, or as a proactive and positive person who is putting their all into living. While it is known that we will all die eventually, we will also all
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