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Essay by   •  January 13, 2011  •  Essay  •  251 Words (2 Pages)  •  1,153 Views

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Rich uses the images of preparing for a dive into a shipwreck to symbolize how one must prepare oneself for the journey of relooking at a painful memory. In order to prepare for the dive, the speaker of the poem “read[s] the book of myths, load[s] the camera and check[s] the edge of the knife blade” (1-3). By reading the book of myths, people must familiarize themselves with the false memories that they have created to protect themselves from the pain of the experience. People must also be willing to record the truth of the event and capture its reality, which is symbolized by the camera. As well, people must have a way to let go and release the event from the past, which can be done by the knife blade. In the poem, she also puts on her protection from the sea, the “body-armor of black rubber” (5) and the “grave and awkward mask” (7). Just as donning this protection, people try to protect themselves from the pain that they may encounter by taking this journey. Although the mask is awkward, it is also a way for one to look more clearly at what they will encounter. The facts will no longer be blurred. The “ladder...hanging close to the side of the schooner” (14-16) is a way to descend down into the depths of the water. It represents the method of descending down into the memories we have hidden. The ladder can be descended rung by rung, step by step.



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