The Aunt Jennifer's Tigers

911 Words4 Pages
Keley Jackson


ENG 131

11 November 2012

Aunt Jennifer’s Tigers

This poem portrays a main character, Aunt Jennifer, as a humble docile woman; smothered by her marriage and the norms she feels she must meet to please society. Adrienne Rich cleverly names the poem “Aunt Jennifer’s Tigers” because of the importance of the role the tigers play in her life. With a husband who dominates her in all respects, she must find her own freedom in her life by knitting in her free time. Aunt Jennifer, a woman on the backside of her life, is slaved to her husband’s controlling ways and rules. To stay sane, aunt Jennifer must find her own way to deal with her unhappy submissive life, by sewing extravagant and observable
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But why would Aunt Jennifer feel rushed during her free time? Perhaps Jennifer is afraid that her aggressive and demanding husband will catch her? Perhaps she does not know if she will ever finish the quilt so rushing is the only answer. “The massive weight of Uncle’s wedding band/ sits heavily upon Aunt Jennifer’s Hand (7-8). With it being very unlikely that her ring is so heavy for her hand to move, the speaker uses irony as a way for her to portray that the marriage is the complete opposite of what she hoped for. Aunt Jennifer’s marriage may possibly be the biggest mistake of her life, and she wishes to escape, which she does while sewing.
The concluding stanza of this poem encloses imagery that links the reader back to the first two stanzas of the poem that proves Aunt Jennifer has not lived the life she wished for, but optimistically will live with pleasure through the tigers once she passes away. The first line observably shows that Aunt Jennifer is frightened by her husband “ Her terrified hands will lie/ Still ringed with ordeals she was mastered by“ (9-10) This line links back to the second stanza when Aunt Jennifer was hastening as fast as she could with the lumber of her Husband’s wedding band. Perhaps her hands are so terrified because her controlling husband emotionally and physically abuses her? The last two lines of the stanza and poem link back to the first line of the first
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