Aunt Jennifers Tigers Aunt Jennifers tigers prance across a screen, Bright topaz denizens of a world of green. They do not fear the men beneath the tree; They pace in sleek chivalric certainty.Aunt Jennifers finger fluttering through her wool Find even the ivory needle hard to pull. The massive weight of Uncles wedding band Sits heavily upon Aunt Jennifers hand. When Aunt is dead, her terrified hands will lie Still ringed with ordeals she was mastered by. The tigers in the panel that she made Will go on prancing, proud and unafraid. Adrienne Rich
This is a political poem that explores the position thatwomen held in Western Society.Very structured poem.Each verse contains exactly four lines.Every second line rhymes with the previous line.
“Aunt Jennifer‟s Tigers” portrays an image of a wife dismayed in her married life. She may be an abused wife unable to escape her husbands brutality. The woman at centre of poem has created an entirely different world to describe her innermost desires. This other world is represented by tigers.
We get a vivid depiction of these tigers. The colours used in the poem make us think of exotic adventures „bright topaz denizens of a world of green‟ The tigers are lively as they „prance‟ this depicts their energy. The aunt is only able to express her adventurous side through these tigers.
It would appear that the aunt is afraid in her everyday existence but we are not told what she actually fears. „fingers fluttering through her wool‟ would suggest that she is a nervous woman. The poet expresses the life that Aunt Jennifer wishes to have. The poet does so through art to show that the aunt is trapped in her abusive marriage.
Her tapestries portray her inner most feelings conveying the constant terror she lives in. She feels she can only escape her husband by living on after death through her artwork. The tigers in her needlework symbolise her longing for freedom. Aunt Jennifer expresses her pain through art, showing how she‟d love her own life to be.
The tigers are not scared of men, unlike Aunt Jennifer who fears her husband. The tigers are powerful and brave „They do not fear the man beneath the tree‟ She has lived her life distancing herself from her controlling husband, she creates an imaginary world through her art, showing her vibrant inner life which is tucked away deep inside her.
Adrienne Rich proves that women are sometimes treated unfairly and with inequality. The tigers display strength and fearlessness which Aunt Jennifer evidently lacks. „Terrified hands‟ suggests that her husband terrorizes her The „massive weight of uncles wedding band‟ is the weight which is upon her following her decision to marry her husband. When Aunt Jennifer is faced with death, she is given a legacy through her artwork and she is finally free. The tigers are „prancing, proud and unafraid‟ these are attributes which Aunt Jennifer deeply desires.