Risking Vulnerability

After reading Adrienne Rich’s poem Diving into the Wreck I was  immediately drawn to the vulnerability of diving into an ocean. My skin tingles as I recall diving in the Caribbean surrounded by the tepid water and sinking into the depths.  Similarly, I ran into a shipwreck and was surrounded by murky obscurity with the unknown staring back at me. When someone is diving into darkness all things seem equal. No one is stronger or weaker than the other person.  In the fourth stanza, the narrator says:  

First, the air is blue, and then 

it is bluer and then green and then 

black I am blacking out 

The ocean is an abyss where one can feel universally free and escape the oppression that they are receiving from the world above. As one sinks lower and lower the weight of oppression is lifted. All souls are equal.  Rich uses darkness as a spiritually uplifting message versus how the Bible refers to it as death. The narrator is no longer afraid of being alone in an underworld and believes the domain of darkness creates equality. 

In the sixth stanza, the narrator says 

I came to explore the wreck. 

The words are purposes. 

The words are maps. 

I came to see the damage that was done.  

The narrator “came to explore the wreck” which perhaps is a metaphor for human suffering. Shipwrecks usually contain human suffering and as a diver explores this suffering it is the words and the maps that reveal the sadness. The wreck is left to be remembered and available to be revisited again.

 

3 thoughts on “Risking Vulnerability”

  1. First off, I love how you talk about darkness as being freeing. The deeper the speaker dives into the ocean, the more weight is taken off their shoulders. It creates such an interesting paradox because usually the deeper you go underwater, the higher the pressure becomes. Perhaps to answer the “so what?” question, you could talk about how this paradox reveals the severity of the oppression found above the surface. That in order for the speaker to feel free, they must dive deeper – despite the increasing physical pressure of water. That only in darkness do they feel equal.

  2. Hi:)
    I really enjoyed reading your rendition of a couple stanzas in Rich’s “Diving into the Wreck”! In particular, I found it interesting that you interpreted the exploration of the wreck itself, as a metaphor to human suffering. Ultimately, this is exemplified when you state, “Rich uses darkness as a spiritually uplifting message versus how the Bible refers to it as death. The narrator is no longer afraid of being alone in an underworld and believes the domain of darkness creates equality.” I, too, examined this poem by Rich and came to the conclusion that “the wreck” was synonymous to the speaker’s past, and how even though this can be painful, (alike to your interpretation of it being a place of suffering), the speaker wanted to utilize such to grow.
    It’s very cool that both of us had similar interpretations of this poem by Adrienne Rich!

  3. Hello!
    I love your analysis of being underwater as an equalizer. I also wrote about “Diving into the Wreck,” and I had a similar interoperation of the wreck as suffering, specifically the suffering of the LGBTQ community that has occurred throughout history. However, I had seen the wreck as something that Rich, or whoever the narrator in the poem is, wants to take with them, but I really like how you talk about the wreck being there as something people can revisit and can be remembered. I think that adds another layer to the poem that I hadn’t seen before.

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