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Virginia Woolf's "The Death of the Moth" illustrates the impossible act of a moth trying to pass through a windowpane in order to escape the interior. The speaker feels sorry for the small creature, thinking of the impossible nature of the moth's circumstance. The beauty of the piece lies in the language choices made by Woolf. She includes rhetorical devices (or poetic/figurative devices/language) which elevates the text.
Rhetorical devices are included in a text where the author wishes to provide a different view, comparison, or stand upon a subject. Typical rhetorical devices are similes and metaphors (stylistic devices which provide a comparison). personification (which gives non-human/non-living things human characteristics), and hyperboles (an over exaggeration). Virgina Woolf, in "The Death of the Moth," includes imagery, personification, and similes.
Imagery is where the author provides descriptions of things which appeal to the five senses of the reader (to allow the reader to create a deeper mental image of what is being described). "They do not excite that pleasant sense of dark autumn nights and ivy-blossom" appeals to the reader's sense of sight and smell. Engaged readers will picture the flowers and smells being described and engage on a deeper level with both the text and the "character" of the text.
Personification is found in the following fragment: "shadow of the curtain never fails to rouse in us." Here, Woolf personifies the shadow of a curtain by allowing it the ability to arouse the reader.
A simile is found in the following line: "soaring round the tree tops until it looked as if a vast net with thousands of black knots in it had been cast up into the air." here, Woolf compares the vision of the rooks (birds) circling the treetops to a net with many knots.
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