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diving into wreck

Explain how "Diving into the Wreck" is "clearly an allegory"?


An allegory is a story that parallels and symbolizes something else (typically a much larger concept). For example, Aesop's Fables are allegories. These stories use simple narratives (a tortoise racing a hare, for example) to express a much larger truth (taking things slow and steady is better than arrogantly rushing.)

Adrienne Rich's poem, "Diving into the Wreck," is an allegory. The poem is literally about SCUBA diving into a shipwreck. Really, though, the poem is an allegory for self-exploration.

The speaker says, "I came to explore the wreck. / The words are purposes. / The words are maps. / I came to see the damage that was done / and the treasures that prevail." This literally details the experience of exploring all the nooks and crannies of a shipwreck. Really, though, it symbolizes self-exploration and "diving" into one's own mind. Through self-reflection, the speaker can explore damage done, the meaning that comes from life's difficult experiences.

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