Analysis of Diving Into the Wreck There are many poems in today’s literature that are detailed and paint a picture for the reader. A poem that really stands out is Diving Into the Wreck by Adrienne Rich. Rich is a well known poet born 1929 in Baltimore, Maryland (Milne). She is a very influential poet in the subjects of feminism and the rights of women. Rich’s literary work was released in the early 1970’s which was a trivial and controversial time in the rights of women. Her poem, Diving Into the Wreck is descriptive and at first glance it seems like many basic poems one may read.
However, with some intensive reading one realizes that there is more to this work of literary art than meets the eye. An accurate theoretical meaning of this poem would be related to women’s rights during this time. Rich uses imagery, symbols, figures of speech, writer’s persona and most of all, allusion to describe this. Rich begins the poem with a description of her putting on a scuba diving suit and preparing for a sort of “dive” into an imaginary ocean. She is using imagery to paint a figurative picture of a diving mission.
When one dives in the ocean with a scuba diving suit, they do so to uncover or discover something that is convoluted or unclear. One can assume that, taking into account Rich’s ideals on feminism that she is speaking of preparing herself for a “mission”. From the first line to the twelfth, it is unclear what exactly she is preparing to do. Rich goes on speaking of a ladder hanging off of the boat she is about to dive off of. A ladder on a boat is used to recover someone from the ocean or to get back on the boat.
In a figurative sense, this is a description of giving up or recovering yourself from a task. In lines twenty through forty-five, Rich continues describing the dive by speaking about climbing down the ladder and into the ocean. She symbolizes the ladder as climbing into a task. She uses allusion in line twenty-nine she says “my flippers cripple me”. This describes the level of difficulty in her task of fighting for women’s rights. Rich goes on using imagery to paint a picture of how the supply of oxygen in her tank is keeping her alive.
This of course figuratively means that a force is keeping her motivated. She is possibly speaking of all the women around the world who are fighting for her rights. Her “mask” keeping her alive actually means that the importance of women’s rights and all the women she is fighting for keeps her going. Rich continues in lines forty-five to sixty to speak about actually getting deep into the ocean and thinking about all the others who have explored there. She mentions “exploring the wreck” in line fifty-five. “Exploring the wreck” is an allusion for her journey in fighting for women’s rights.
She goes on to mention all the good things that will come out of her fight. In the next lines up to line seventy, she inches away from the figurative aspect and speaks in a more literal sense. Line seventy reads “among the tentative haunters”. This clearly means those that wish to degrade the rights of women and those that “haunt” or keep women back by diminishing their role in society. Rich could possibly be speaking of men. The ending of the poem continues unveiling the meaning of the poem ever so slightly.
Rich compares herself to a mermaid and a merman simultaneously. She is using allusion to give herself the persona of a man to be strong while at the same time using the persona of a woman to describe beauty and grace. Rich goes on to describe “circling the wreck” which means taking on a new task in life. In her case this would again be women’s rights. The poem ends with Rich describing how everyone has goals and tasks in their lives and how all people have obstacles in their way and how we are all the same, just trying to “circle the wreck” to find our treasure.
In conclusion, Diving Into the Wreck is a poem that is a very detailed and descriptive figurative work of literary art that has a hidden meaning. The author, Adrienne Rich uses allusion, persona, imagery and symbolism to describe diving and circling a wreck. This poem is referring to tackling the issue of women’s rights and how this is just one task in her life when everyone has similar tasks and obstacles in their lives. Works Cited “Overview: ‘Diving into the Wreck’. ” Poetry for Students. Ira Mark Milne. Vol. 29. Detroit: Gale, 2009. Literature Resource Center. Web. 26 Sep. 2011.