To be honest at first this piece was very unclear to me. The first time that I read this during class on Friday I found myself extremely confused. However, as some of my questions were answered and the class engaged in a good discussion of the piece, I began to more fully understand it. To me, Dillard’s “Death of a Moth” is an analysis of one’s importance or significance in the world. Dillard seems to be lost and lonely throughout this piece and is searching for something to spark her imagination and ability to write. However, I do not believe it was simply because she is experiencing writer’s block. I believe that Dillard is grappling with death and how troubling it is that some upon their death leave nothing behind. As Dillard watches the moths die she realizes how fleeting life truly is and how in an instant these moths are gone and there is really no trace of their existence. Obviously, there is a difference between a moth’s life and a human’s life, but by using the scope of the moth, Dillard is able to establish her sentiments towards death and what comes after. The gold moth that ignites the fire and serves a purpose after its death is particularly amazing to Dillard. She finds herself mesmerized by this one gold moth. I believe this is because she sees how this one moth is able to leave its mark and is able to be purposeful even after it has died. Dillard seems to want to leave her own trace behind. She does not wish to be forgotten and meaningless like some of the other moths that just pass on in the blink of an eye. Dillard hopes to remembered long after her death and ignite the imagination in others.
Dillard’s “Death of a Moth” December 11, 2011