Symbolism In Virginia Woolf's Death Of A Moth

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Death is an inevitable reality; once it approaches it cannot be stopped. The difference between life and death is thoroughly explained in Virginia Woolf’s “Death of the Moth.” The utilization of rhetorical devices by Woolf such as tone, pathos, symbolism, similes and metaphors to convey this message captivates the reader making them experience powerful emotions which were once unknown to them. Virginia Woolf describes her subjective self in her narration while conveying her pain to the readers.
Woolf uses symbolism excessively in “Death of a Moth.” In the second paragraph the moth is described as “pure” representing Virginia before her mother’s death. When her mother died causing her to experience her first depressive episode at the young age of fifteen following with the deaths of family members (Becoming One’s Own, NAMI), Virginia like the moth had “the enormous energy of the world had been thrust into his frail and diminutive body,”(Woolf, Death of the Moth). The moth can be seen as a metaphorical symbol of Woolf’s firm beliefs in woman’s rights whereas death symbolizes her husband who tries to silence her and kill her spirit. Moth is a representation of the battles of depression that Virginia faced
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This belief is supported in “I argued in the last chapter that Virginia Woolf, attempts in her narrative and rhetorical strategies, to unsettle her readers,” and in “to keep her reader moving, on new and challenging trajectories, paths to new creative outlets.” (Pg. 72, Allen). She uses imagery to appeal to the reader’s senses and make them feel as if they were standing in front of the helpless moth. The use of the rhetorical strategy of pathos makes them experience the unfolding scene of moth’s struggle against the world as she does. The use of certain words such as “vigor” adversely describes the moth that is a calm creature that contrast words such as “benignant” which utterly describe the
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