Adrienne Rich's "Aunt Jennifer Tigers"

In: English and Literature

Submitted By jara
Words 1258
Pages 6
Adrienne Rich's "Aunt Jennifer Tigers" is a poem that concerns itself mainly with a woman

struggling to accept the indignities of her daily life while being insatiably focused on attaining some

sense of immortality once that life ends. Aunt Jennifer must find a way to deal with her unhappy and

submissive station in life, and she does so by sewing exciting and memorable works of art. Sewing is

her escape and in this case she's escaping to a jungle where wild animals rule the land and never

show fear. The tigers created by Aunt Jennifer are beasts demanding respect from even their

predators. This demand for respect is something that Aunt Jennifer is incapable of doing for herself.

In the meantime, she will deal with her problems by escaping from them.
This escape into her art is shown vividly in the opening stanza of the poem where the imagery is vibrant and alive and shows what Aunt Jennifer is capable of doing; it also provides a glimpse into Aunt Jennifer's subconscious in its portrayal of animals who don't allow themselves to be victimized by anyone. The tigers are literally prancing across the screen. The image of something prancing immediately brings to mind a being that is confident and self-assured and happy; all things that Aunt Jennifer is not. The tigers are not just simply tigers, of course. They are "Bright topaz denizens of a world of green" (2). The use of colors implies that Aunt Jennifer's tigers and their land are more vital and enjoy a sense of freedom far greater than she. Yellow connotes the sun and fierce energy, while green reminds one of spring and rebirth. Aunt Jennifer is longing for both energy and rebirth. She cannot find it at home so she goes on journeys into her sewing. The tigers are foreign and that also brings speculation that Aunt Jennifer would like to travel, which is just another form escape. That the…...

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