Examining the Role of Myth and Story in a Passage of “Diving into the Wreck”

Passage: the thing I came for:/the wreck and not the story of the wreck/the thing itself and not the myth

I think this passage is about looking for something concrete rather than superficial or not physical. The reason that I believe this is because first, Rich talks about something that she “came for,” so she was looking for something in the wreck. The thing that she is looking for is not the story or the myth of the wreck. Both myth and story are things that one cannot physically see or touch and can therefore not be taken. A myth or a story can also get twisted and changed over time, so someone may never know the original form it was unless they were the person who first told the myth or the story. It is unclear what “the thing itself” is that she has come looking for, but she is looking for something real, as she states. The wreck is real compared to the story of the wreck because it is something she can see and touch. In the second two lines she first states the thing that is real and then the thing that is not. I think this indicates that she is not being fooled by the myth and the story. It appears the myth and the story are placed there to distract the person from looking for the thing that is real, and she is not buying into that distraction. With all of this in mind, I believe what she is looking for is the people of the LGBTQ community. She is not looking at the stories about them because those can be twisted and changed. She is looking for the physical thing that defines the LGBTQ community. Also, since she is looking for the wreck, this means she could be looking for the things that are painful to see. The hardships the community has gone through, not the myths and stories that have been warped by history.

4 thoughts on “Examining the Role of Myth and Story in a Passage of “Diving into the Wreck””

  1. Representation is an idea that’s been explored going all the way back to Plato and Aristotle, so it’s interesting how you touched on that here. There’s also an added effect, that might be worth toying with, in considering the “the wreck” not as something physical, but a metaphor. Relating the myth back to this metaphor, Rich includes the line, “The words are purposes. / The words are maps.” (53-54). This would imply that the “myth” led her to the shipwreck, rather than distracting her from it. However, it is really easy to get caught up in representations, which you touched on. The ‘distraction’/’map’ dynamic also has some ironic undertones that might be worth pursuing.

  2. This is a really interesting take on this poem. I think your connection to the LGBTQ community here is very poignant and well-observed. It was not my first thought upon reading this poem! Several other people in our class wrote their blog post on “Diving into the Wreck” and I think connecting your post to Juan’s in particular is helpful here. Juan seems to be assuming that the “thing” she “came for” is herself, her identity – this is a journey of self-discovery. I think this can connect really well with your point, Sophie, in that often times part of understanding your own identity involves understanding the past and present of those like you. In looking for the LGBTQ community, the narrator is also looking for herself in them.

  3. Hi! This was my favorite passage of this poem because of the ideas Rich shares in it. I agree that it is about looking for something concrete rather than something more superficial. I think that the way you relate this to LGTBQ+ history makes a really good point as well – especially when you consider how much of LGBTQ history has been erased or changed through time, it is important to look for the truth of matters and not a version of what happened.

  4. Hi Sophie!
    I really love your examination of “Diving into the Wreck” and how word choice is very important/critical when understanding the writers’ ‘intention’. In particular, I found it interesting that you connected this analogy, of the speaker in search of the wreck itself and not the story/myth surrounding it, to the LGBTQ+ community. Your last line, “the hardships the community has gone through, not the myths and stories that have been warped by history” really exemplifies this idea. Similarly, I examined this same poem by Rich, and even examined word choice as well. I looked into the implications of “the wreck” and how it can be synonymous to the speaker’s past; ultimately, how the speaker looks for her past, not to relive it again, but rather utilize and grow from it. Overall, I believe it is very interesting that we both examined similar words yet had a completely different interpretation!

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