Death In Anatole Broyard's The Death Of The Moth

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When one dies, does his presence fade away with his decaying body, or remain immortal? In the poignant yet inspirational essay, “Intoxicated by My Illness,” by Anatole Broyard, the author is informed about his prostate cancer, which leads him to gain a new perspective on himself and his life. Unlike most people who undergo the phase of despair and anxiety in the face of death, Broyard quickly accepts his imminent death, or “ [turns] toward it (343).” Despite the fact that his friends view such action as “courage,” (343) he believes his optimistic attitude is attributed to his “desire;” (344) he is cognizant that his “desire”- his view, thoughts, and presence- will be eternal. Broyard’s desire “to live, to write, to do everything,” (344) swells as he…show more content…
Unfortunately, no one is capable of averting death. Virginia Woolf’s essay, “The Death of The Moth,” deftly articulates this notion. In the essay, the protagonist- a special moth that flies during the day- attempts to triumph over death. The moth “[flutters] from side to side of his square of the window pane,” (105) relentlessly trying to escape death. Even after numerous futile attempts, the moth still, driven by his desire to survive and live, “dances” (106) his way to survival. Although the essay concludes with an unsurprising scene- the death of the moth, the moth is surprisingly “uncomplainingly composed,” (107) earning Woolf’s respect. The moth symbolizes life, helpless in front of death. Both Woolf and the moth are cognizant of the omnipotent strength death processes. Broyard is aware of such horrifying power as well, which is evident in his recurrent dreams. In his dream, Broyard is afflicted with crime-which later he realizes is death- and no matter how spectacular his “impassioned speech in [his] own defense” (344) is, “the judge [will] not acquit” (344) him. In other words, he will never triumph over such omnipotence death

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