Collaborative Learning:

Adrienne Rich's "Diving into the Wreck"

(pp. 1685-87, Norton)

Choose a recorder to keep track of your group's responses to the questions. And don't forget to support your analyses with support from the poem.

1. To begin with the extended metaphor in the title, what's the wreck? And why is the speaker diving? In other words, what might the wreck represent and what's the significance of diving? See especially lines 52-56 and 61-63.

2. In the lines mentioned above, the speaker distinguishes between "the wreck" and "the story of the wreck" (62), between "the thing itself" and "the myth" (63): what's the difference and how might this distinction be significant to our understanding of the poem? Whose myth? Whose story? And in lines 44-45, the speaker mentions that "it is easy to forget / what I came for": why would it be easy to forget?

3. What does the imagery of lines 65-70 and 77-86 tell us about the speaker's dive into the wreck? Interpret these images to investigate the possible meaning(s) of both the dive and the wreck.

4. What's the relationship between the speaker and the wreck (the tone, in other words)? Why is the speaker "carrying a knife, a camera, / a book of myths" (91-92; also mentioned in lines 1-3)? What are these items for? What do they signify?

5. What is the sex of the speaker? Is knowing this piece of information significant to your reading of the poem? Why or why not?