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
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
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