The setting of "The Death of the Moth" is deliberately vague. It is inside a nondescript room in a house in the country on a bright morning in September. The year is not mentioned, and, within the room, the focus of the piece is on the window. The author also describes the scene outside, which is initially lively and energetic, with men and horses plowing the fields and birds circling the trees. Later, around midday, everything is quiet outside. The birds have departed and the horses are standing still.
The focus on the windowpane replicates the perspective of the moth and the author, whose gaze is drawn to the moth. This places the moth himself firmly at the center of the essay. The moth shows no interest in the comparatively dark room behind the windowpane. He is concentrating on the scene outside.
The author then shows how the moth's energy mirrors that of the landscape. First of all, she describes the moth as fiercely energetic and vital. Then, as the landscape becomes quieter, so does the moth. Finally, the whole of nature conspires to crush the life out of the moth. The simplicity of the setting combines with the author's focus on the window and the scene beyond to emphasize the tragic struggle of the moth against death.