Diving Into A Marriage

Essay by PaperNerd ContributorCollege, Undergraduate October 2001

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In Adrienne Rich's book of poems, Diving into the Wreck, she examines many aspects of her life, not the least of which are the experiences she has had with men in relationships. In the poem that gave rise to the title of the book, she talks about the marriage she entered into with a man and reflects upon it years after the divorce. She doesn't look down upon it, or even look at it as a bad spot in her life; she just realizes that the only way she could learn about the situation was to experience it and examine it to see what happened and what she missed when she was living it.

"First having read the book of myths, / And loaded the camera, / And checked the edge of the knife-blade"� she prepares to dive into marriage knowing what others have said about it in the "book of myths."�

Apparently she feels that it is something she must do in her life, but she knows it may not be right for her. She must observe all she can with her "camera,"� and knows she may have to put up a wall of defense around her with her "knife-blade"� and "body-armor of black rubber."� Knowing that later in life she called herself a lesbian, one may think that she knew this going into marriage but wanted to protect that aspect of her life in order to try something she felt was necessary. She knew all the stories surrounding married life, but felt she had to go into it anyway, exploring it, "alone."� (22) The ladder she speaks of in the second stanza represents, to me, a bridge between the feelings she has toward man-woman relationships and "normalcy."� "[They] know what it is used for, / [those]...

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