Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Essay: "The Death of the Moth." Virginia Woolf.

Review: Reminds me of Robert Frost’s poem about the insignificant insect that crossed his page. The moth is insignificant. We pay little attention to it, but it is life. The essayist, however, is an observer of its struggle to live and it relaxes into death. I can never look again at a moth as insignificant because of this essay.

“They [moths] are hybrid creatures, neither gay like butterflies….”

“Nevertheless, the present specimen…seemed to be content with life.”

“Nothing, I knew, had any chance against death.”

“One’s sympathies, of course, were all on the side of life. Also, 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.”

“O yes, he seemed to say, death is stronger than I am.”

The Art of the Personal Essay: An Anthology from the Classical Era to the Present. Ed. Phillip Lopate. New York: Anchor Books. A Division of Random House, Inc. 1995.

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