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Henry Thoreau’s The Battle of The Ants’ and Virginia Woolf’s The Death of The Moth’

Introduction

Henry Thoreau’s ‘the battle of the ants’ and Virginia Woolf’s ‘the death of the moth’ are two exceptional essays that depict the life of small creatures. The two writers humanize the life of the ants and moth in an extraordinary manner. The two writers use imagery to communicate human truths using small creatures.

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Nonetheless, the use of the imagery, personification and allegories are common styles for both writers. However, the two excerpts are comparable from different perspectives as discussed in the paper.

This paper compares and contrasts “the battle of the ants” and “the death of the moth” based on imagery, personification, and allegories.

Imagery

Thoreau uses imagery by depicting the character of interest as two species of ants. Precisely, the red and black ants are embroiled in a game of survival. From the imagery of ants, the author tries to show how ants are heroic and suffer as much as a human once on the battlefield. The military imagery of the ants is interesting for the reader to understand the consequences of war.

Perhaps, the best way to understand how war is important to the community is by learning the readiness by which ants are ready to die for a worthy course. The author’s inclusion of the red and black ants is a depiction of the differences found in humanity. Humanity is diverse in terms of color, culture, and language. The territorial boundary is notably one of the major war factors in history.

On the other hand, Virginia Woolf compares the life of a moth to that of a man. In this regard, the reader tries to make connections from the character of the moth. The imagery act of a moth escaping a windowpane edifies the human struggle. The imagery of death is critical for the reader to understand that fate is inevitable. The stillness that befalls the moth’s community is similar to that of mankind.

The power of death becomes real to the reader once the same is described from different dimensions. For example, a sense of personification is evidenced by the portrayal of death with strong connotations such as “death is stronger than I am” (Woolf 1075).

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The author seems to be helpless when she observes the struggles of the moth in the face of death. From this perspective, the imagery of death as powerful over life is frightening. Nonetheless, the imagery of the moth struggles implies that no one can overcome the indomitable will of death.

Henry Thoreau’s imagery presents the war among the ants as a huge battle similar to that witnessed among humans. The author’s presentation of the war is that it was a “bellum and not dueled” (Thoreau 776).

Interestingly, the author uses the imagery of “myrmidons to depict the warring ants as legions of armored Greek warriors” (Thoreau 776). The imagery of red and black ants is a duplication of the reality that exists between the republicans and the democrats in the political arena.

Personification

The act of ants fighting is personified in an interesting manner. In fact, the writer seems to witness the war in a human sense. The aspect of a war that is based on life and death is given a human form when the author refers to the fighting ants as combatants. In fact, the author implies that war is motivated by emotions. The author’s impression that the war depicts an ancient Spartan war is intriguing.

According to Thoreau, the ancient Spartan entailed wives and mothers sending away their sons as warriors. To Thoreau, the ants “were to return with their shields or upon it” (Thoreau 777). The personification of a victorious black ant spending its days at a “hotel des invalids” (Thoreau 777), represents a similar consequence that befalls soldiers after the war. Precisely, the majority of soldiers remain as invalids even after winning the war.

On the other hand, Woolf uses personification by implying that the shadow of a curtain arouses the reader. Precisely, this personification is evidenced when the author argues that the “shadow of the curtain never fails to arouse in us” (Woolf 1075).

In addition, death is personified when the author argues that the moth is “dancing in the arms of death” (Woolf 1075). Moreover, the personification takes an interesting twist when the author alleges that the death is a foe that the moth wants to defeat.

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Allegory

Thoreau’s and Woolf’s stories represent an interesting aspect of animal life that is similar to that of human. The human struggle and story of survival through acts of war are evidenced in the allegory of “battle of the ants.”

Important aspects that are prevalent in human life such as political and cultural differences, become rife through the red and black ants. The loyalty of the warriors and their dedication to serving the society is made rife in Henry Thoreau’s “battle of the ants.”

Meanwhile, Virginia Woolf’s “death of the moth” uses the allegory of the vanity of life when death overpowers creature. The allegory of the struggle to pass through the windowpane represents the vanity of mankind’s efforts to achieve things that are beyond control.

While every creature struggles to enter new paradises, there is always an obstacle that proves to be indomitable. Whether it is the windowpane or death itself, the success and life of a living creature are rendered useless after death.

In conclusion, the depiction of little creatures in both stories exemplifies human life in an interesting manner. The two authors are keen on the use of imagery, personification, and allegories. Although the two writers use similar styles, there are notable differences in terms of characters. For example, ants and moth are creatures with different characters.

Works Cited

Thoreau, D. Henry. “The battle of the ants.” The Norton Reader: An anthology of nonfiction. 12th Ed. Eds. Linda, Peterson and John Brereton. New York: W. W. Norton & Company, 2008. 776-78 Print.

Woolf, Virginia. “The death of the moth.” The Norton Reader: An anthology of nonfiction. 12th Ed. Eds. Linda Peterson and John Brereton. New York: W. W. Norton & Company, 2008. 1074-84. Print.

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StudyCorgi. (2020, October 19). Henry Thoreau’s The Battle of The Ants’ and Virginia Woolf’s The Death of The Moth’. Retrieved from https://studycorgi.com/henry-thoreaus-the-battle-of-the-ants-and-virginia-woolfs-the-death-of-the-moth/

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StudyCorgi. (2020, October 19). Henry Thoreau’s The Battle of The Ants’ and Virginia Woolf’s The Death of The Moth’. https://studycorgi.com/henry-thoreaus-the-battle-of-the-ants-and-virginia-woolfs-the-death-of-the-moth/

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"Henry Thoreau’s The Battle of The Ants’ and Virginia Woolf’s The Death of The Moth’." StudyCorgi, 19 Oct. 2020, studycorgi.com/henry-thoreaus-the-battle-of-the-ants-and-virginia-woolfs-the-death-of-the-moth/.

1. StudyCorgi. "Henry Thoreau’s The Battle of The Ants’ and Virginia Woolf’s The Death of The Moth’." October 19, 2020. https://studycorgi.com/henry-thoreaus-the-battle-of-the-ants-and-virginia-woolfs-the-death-of-the-moth/.


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StudyCorgi. "Henry Thoreau’s The Battle of The Ants’ and Virginia Woolf’s The Death of The Moth’." October 19, 2020. https://studycorgi.com/henry-thoreaus-the-battle-of-the-ants-and-virginia-woolfs-the-death-of-the-moth/.

References

StudyCorgi. 2020. "Henry Thoreau’s The Battle of The Ants’ and Virginia Woolf’s The Death of The Moth’." October 19, 2020. https://studycorgi.com/henry-thoreaus-the-battle-of-the-ants-and-virginia-woolfs-the-death-of-the-moth/.

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StudyCorgi. (2020) 'Henry Thoreau’s The Battle of The Ants’ and Virginia Woolf’s The Death of The Moth’'. 19 October.

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