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Diving into the Wreck

Diving into the Wreck

by Adrienne Rich

Man and the Natural World Theme

The diver in "Diving into the Wreck" has an amazing, maybe even transcendental, experience underwater. Everything about the ocean world is fascinating, new, and intense. We aren't merely looking at nature in this poem, we are fully plunged into it. This poem is about exploring and changing and feeling, but on a simple level it's a story about how we come into contact with nature. What do we do when nature takes control? How do we interact with other creatures? Nature provides the setting, and the atmosphere of this poem.

Questions About Man and the Natural World

  1. Does the natural world seem threatening and scary in this poem? Is it a force to be confronted, or just something to be understood?
  2. Does the speaker of this poem become a part of the natural world by the end, or does she remain separated from it?
  3. What part do you think the sea creatures play in this poem?
  4. When we get inside the wreck, do the images of natural destruction seem sad and evil or peaceful and natural?

Chew on This

Try on an opinion or two, start a debate, or play the devil’s advocate.

This poem describes a journey toward unity with the natural world. At first the speaker feels awkward about being in the ocean, but gradually she evolves into a "mermaid" or "merman," a creature of the sea.

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