Essay on Adrienne Rich's "Diving Into the Wreck"

1075 Words Apr 7th, 2006 5 Pages
Adrienne Rich uses many poetic resources in her poem "Diving into the Wreck." In this poem a diver goes on a trip to investigate a shipwreck in the socially accepted schema. Rich shifts the role of the hero and the strategy for success in her second schema. In the second schema the hero goes on a journey where she discovers her true identity, both female and male.
The hero prepares for the journey into the sea by reading the book of myths, collecting a camera and knife, and putting on a diving suit. The diver is alone, unlike Jacques Cousteau, who had a team to accompany him on his dives. She brings a camera because she will find things on her dive that she does not want to forget. The persona wears "absurd flippers" and an "awkward mask"
…show more content…
The black waters can be seen as a metaphor for the realm unknown in the second schema. The persona uses a mask to protect her from exposure, she must learn and adapt to her new environment. The persona does not want to forget her mission, "And now: it is easy to forget what I came for" (Vendler, 504). She has come to explore the truth of the wreck and she will not get sidetracked. The diver has become a different person underwater, she even breaths differently in the sea.
The diver comes upon the wreck and starts to explore it, she has come to see the ship's damage and treasures. The diver states the purpose of her mission in the seventh stanza; she wants to explore the wreck, she does not want to learn the story of the wreck. The persona is not interested in the myth behind the wreck, she has come to witness it herself and see its "threadbare beauty" (Vendler, 504). The diver can be seen as exploring the wreck in the first schema.
In the second schema the diver's exploration of the shipwreck is a metaphor for her search for the truth. The persona sees evidence of damage on the wreck but she also sees beauty. The sea is no longer dark and black, it is illuminated by the sun. The wreck could be a metaphor for the tragedy women face when oppressed. The hero realizes the devastation caused when women's value is denied, but the hero also finds the lost treasures of women.
The diver has a revelation in the eight stanza, she
Open Document