Aunt Jennifer's Tiger:
I think this poem is about marriage violence and the wife's bereavement. The image of the uncle is like the traditional husband who is the ruler and the head of a family. Wife should obey her husband and is not allowed objection. Aunt Jennifer is oppressed, which we can see from the third and fourth line in the second stanza. "The massive weight of Uncle's wedding band sits heavily upon Aunt Jennifer's hand." Honestly I don't understand what " wedding band " is, but it is a burden for Aunt Jennifer obviously, and so it is for married women. In the past, family is certainly a heavy burden for women. However, women still has to sacrifice more than men do in modern time. While Aunt Jennifer doesn't seem to be weak. Through the tiger on the tapestry we can realize her intention. "Bright topaz denizens of a world of green." I can imagine a proud and wild animal in the woods. How noble a tiger is. I think the word "denizens" reveals Aunt Jennifer's perseverance. The tiger is not only living bur lasting and "They don't fear the men beneath the tree." The tiger is strong and brave, which presents Aunt Jennifer's unbowed spirit. The men beneath can be hunters who maybe present her husband. Although the husband is overwhelming, wife's unyielding expresses in other ways. Those tigers pace in " sleek chivalric certainty," which tells us that women are not weak as they are physically. I think this poem contains a little bit feminism. It tells us not to look down upon women's power. The image of the female in the poem is traditional. Although she can hardly get equality to her husband and his terror is haunted, it seems that she is awakening by degree. "Find even the ivory needle hard to pull." Even women are aware of their own situation; it is hard for them to go through. I don't mean that couples in early age were all tragic but they were used to this. Therefore " Aunt Jennifer's tiger" is especially meaningful. The speaker's aunt passed away, but the tigers lasted. In the other hand, the tiger is just a sign, which is ideological. After all Aunt Jennifer couldn't resist her husband. We can see from "Still ringed with ordeals she was mastered by"
I don't think sexual inequality will disappear because man and woman are different naturally. This situation can just be improved but not balanced. While I think Ms. Rich wanted to remind female to be aware and not to forget to pursuit our rights. " The tigers will go on prancing proud and unafraid." I think the poem is not only about Aunt Jennifer's story but an encouragement for women. As Aunt Jennifer, she couldn't have prior performance like man. She created artwork on which her thought was presented. In many fields, women aren't thought equal to men, for instance, strength. Sometimes that is truth but that doesn't mean women are weaker. She showed her ability in art form rather than earning money that is regarded more important. The tigers are the symbol of feministic spirit, and they remind us of making them into "real," not just on the tapestry. The last line is the most encouraging. "Will go on prancing, proud and unafraid."