For Starters it’s easy to say both essays are about moths. This is actually the first time I have read essays about tiny creatures and have come across two famous writers that spend their time of the day observing and actually writing in detail about moths – the death of moths.
Both essays are written by women, both seemingly nature loners and talk about the last few moments of the moths’ lives. Readers find Dillard’s essay slightly more violent death the female moth had, where as we don’t exactly find out what killed the male moth in Woolf’s essay. Both writers are sitting in places where they can see and experience the nature and the elements around them first hand although Woolf is on a farm house where as Dillard, is camping by herself.
The parts like “ After a pause.. Fluttered again” and “the body relaxed … struggle was over” in Woolf’s essay and the phrases like “one night … and held”; “ her head jerked.. Pistol fire” in Dillard’s essay shows in detail what the poor moth went through in their last stages. Although readers will strongly believe the moth in Dillard’s essay had more violent horrifying death; but the moth in Woolf’s essay had suffered more.
The tone of the essay is very typical starts very full of life and ends with the death of the moth, she does a great job helping the reader draw a picture of what is around her. Dillard on the other hand is more like a hopper the tone and theme all through the essay keeps changing and jumping from one point to another.
For instances, the essay starts off with her talking about her cat and a spider’s web in her bathroom, readers honestly would think she was going to go on about spiders, but from the carcasses left of the spider’s meals rises the link to the female moth whose death we experience.
Woolf’s essay starts with the description of the moth- a male day moth to be precise. Her essay has a beginning a body and ending about a moth with the whole essay revolving around that moth other elements like the farm and the animals on it are also mention but the moth seems to be the central character. Dillard is very descriptive in describing the moth.
She has managed to use almost all adjectives and sounds that could be used to give us an ultra dear picture of that moth actually landing into its fiery grave and staying there, burning for a good two hour. Dillard’s essay is not typical the best proof of that is, she starts it in her bathroom, goes onto remembering a camping trip that happed two years ago and concludes the essay in her living room wondering about a lot of other things than the burnt moth.
Nonetheless each narrator probably saw a glimpse of something more than just death of a tiny winged critter. It might have reminded them of life, their purpose. It could be a message to them to ponder upon their own lives. The readers might read more strongly to the death of the moth in Dillard’s essay, as it is very descriptive. We know what killed it we were given a description of each and every body part of that moth being destroyed by flame of that candle that caused its death.
As mentioned earlier, I see moths, sometimes, but I don’t stop whatever I am doing and start observing it. Nor do I spend time writing thoroughly detailed essay about them. But despite my lack of interest in moths, I could help but think about them after reading the essays by Annie Dillard and Virginia Woolf. The moth in Dillard’s essay was most almost personified and I ended up feeling sorry for it.
Although the moth in Woolf’s essay amazed her at it’s struggle against death. Both essay reminded by about the delicacy of life and the surety of death. Both authors might have a totally different lesson of image they would want to showcase and convey here; I just couldn’t help but think about the uncertainty of life we make bug claims about what we want to do with “our life”, how we want to spend it, how we want to live it our way.
Unfortunately we fail to relies we might cherish and consider life precious hold it dear and close, but life – life can ditch us anytime, mostly without a warning and there is nothing we can do we wouldn’t like, stay forever.