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Diving into the Wreck

Diving into the Wreck

by Adrienne Rich

The Knife

Symbol Analysis

Each one of the objects the diver carries seems important in a different way. A knife can be a tool, or it can be a weapon. In both cases though, it shows that the diver might expect things to get dangerous. Even though the knife never gets used, it starts and ends this poem on a spooky note.

  • Line 3: There's something dark and a little scary about this line. If you just bring a knife along on your dive out of habit, it might not mean much. But if you stop to check the blade, you must mean business. In this way the knife becomes a symbol of the possibility of violence.
  • Line 91: Here too the knife shows up as one of a trio: knife, camera, and book. We won't force this on you, but we think the image of these three things could be a metaphor for any number of different ideas: The camera that traps memories, the knife that kills, the book that holds nothing but lies. They are necessary for the dive, but they are also potentially harmful.

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