Analysis Of The Anthology Diving Into The Wreck

Decent Essays

Philosopher and writer, Jiddu Krishnamurti, says the following in a 1967 “Public Talk”: “when all authority of every kind is put aside, denied, then you can find out for yourself.” This statement characterizes authority -- “the ability to assert or influence” – as a governing force that ultimately supersedes identity, as its absence allows for one to “find out,” or create individual perceptions (OED). Similarly, this conflict of authority and identity manifests in the works of author, Adrienne Rich. Specifically, through its literary form, “Rape,” in the anthology Diving into the Wreck (1973), exposes the negative effects of a domineering male power by evaluating the deprivation of female identity that occurs as a consequence. It is …show more content…

As such, these lines represent a loss of identity as “a unique self” in the speaker, by exemplifying the generalized female stereotype of submissiveness (OED). Rather than possessing an individual autonomy of the event’s details, the speaker “(has) to confess,” and so, loses the ability to command, or contain, the situation as they desire by instead having to “yield” the information (13) (OED). Moreover, the act of rape itself, serves as another example of the loss of female identity to a male influence. For instance, rape is “sexually forcing oneself onto another without consent” (OED). By acting without permission, a rapist effectively denies human rights to their victims, compelling them to a state of submission and dehumanizing them into the equivalent of physical property (OED). In her critical essay, Rich recognizes this idea of objectification by writing that, “Man’s power (is) to […] choose or reject the woman,” just as one can choose or reject an item (Rich, 6). She extends this to the text through the line, “the maniac’s sperm still greasing your thighs,” as the rapist has marked the speaker with a physical reminder of their essence to transform them from a person into the evidence of a crime (12). Hence, in the metaphor of predator and prey along with the conflict of dehumanization, a gender hierarchy within the poem emerges that promotes male control and as an effect limits the prominence of ‘self’

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