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Adrienne Rich's Aunt Jennifer's Tigers Essay

586 words - 3 pages

Adrienne Rich's "Aunt Jennifer's Tigers" is a very structured poem. Each verse contains exactly four lines, while every second line rhymes with the previous line. "Aunt Jennifer's Tigers" portrays an image of a wife dismayed with her married life. One can interpret from this poem that Aunt Jennifer is an abused wife unable to escape her husband's brutality. The poem focuses on Aunt Jennifer's dreams and the harsh world she calls her reality. She escapes her harsh world through her stitching and needlepoint, and the tigers that she creates are everything that she is not. Rich uses comparison to convey to us the difference between Aunt Jennifer and her tigers.The tigers Aunt Jennifer stitches and imagines are brave and they do not fear anything ...view middle of the document...

Lines 7-8, "The massive weight of Uncle's wedding band / Sits heavily upon Aunt Jennifer's hand", clearly portrays the hardship she must endure and the weight of the marriage. She is trapped in this marriage with nowhere to go. Her only escape being "Aunt Jennifer's tigers prance across a screen" (Line 1). The most saddening lines in the poem are, "While Aunt is dead, her terrified hands will lie / Still ringed with ordeals she was mastered by" (Lines 9-10). From these lines, one can interpret that Aunt Jennifer will still have on the ring that tainted her life. She will still be owned and dominated even after she is long gone.Numerous literary devices are used throughout this poem, for example, alliteration, imagery, symbolism and rhyme scheme. An example of alliteration is line 12, "Will go on prancing, proud and unafraid". "Prancing, proud" portrays to the reader the power these tigers possessed, how they feared nothing, something Aunt Jennifer desired so much. Imagery is used throughout the poem to create the tigers on Aunt Jennifer's screen while symbolism is used to create the person she dreams of being, the tigers. One can see the rhyme scheme is constant throughout the poem, the rhyme scheme being, AABBCCDDEEFF. Rich use of language and adjectives helps us expose the strong tigers and the weak aunt.For Rich uses vivid language throughout her poem, it helps the readers portray a clear picture. The tone in which "Aunt Jennifer's Tigers" is written, makes the readers not only see but also feel Aunt Jennifer's pain and misery. Using her screen, she creates another world, she desires to be in. However, sadly, as long as she is married to Uncle, she will forever be forced to live her tortured and life.By: Mika Mokko © 2004

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