How surprising the title is! Aunt Jennifer・s Tigers? Does Aunt Jennifer possess real tigers? Of course not!
Aunt Jennifer・s tigers prance across the screen. How active the tigers are! They are bright topaz denizens of a world of green. The colors mentioned, yellow and green, are bright, pleasant and alive. Also the word ：topaz； may suggest that Aunt Jennifer thought those tigers are lovely and precious. They do not fear the men beneath the tree. In my opinion, the men might be her husband or other men in her life made her oppress her true feeling and affection. They pace in sleek chivalric certainty. Maybe it suggests that Aunt Jennifer took the tigers as heroes going to save her from her unhappy marriage and treat her well. Generally speaking, the first stanza gives an active, carefree and pleasant impression.
The second stanza expresses something dreary. At first, Aunt Jennifer・s fingers fluttering through the wool. She might be happy when doing her work, so that her fingers were somehow like flying. Like a butterfly or a bird. And then it says the massive weight of Uncle・s wedding band sits heavily upon Aunt Jennifer・s hand. It made even the ivory needle, the finest, lightest and delicate needle, hard to pull. The sentence might suggest that the shadow of Uncle lay on Aunt Jennifer・s heart and mind so ponderously. Besides, a wedding ring should be the symbol of love and lifetime promise. But to Aunt Jennifer, it・s a heavy lock. Her marriage had limited her.
When Aunt is dead, her terrified hands will lie. However, she cannot escape from what she had suffered from. She was still ringed with ordeals she was mastered by, even though she was dead.
How sad it is! She never has opportunities to express her real feeling and thoughts inside. Therefore she made the tigers, her own tigers. Maybe they let her feel there is something belongs to her indeed. It・s a beautiful and bright world she created for herself against the real world she lived. That・s why the tigers in the panel she made will go on prancing, proud and unafraid.
A tiger should be a kind of aggressive animal. It・s a symbol of power, somehow like the king. It・s a contrast to Aunt Jennifer in the poem. She is weak, controlled and limited. Aunt Jennifer・s tigers are free; not Aunt Jennifer. To my way of thinking, Aunt Jennifer・s tigers are the reflection of Aunt Jennifer・s desire of freedom. Maybe this poem is related to the author, Adrienne Rich.
However, I think Aunt Jennifer is really a very sad character. She should be a very traditional woman devoted to her husband, her marriage and her family. I wonder why didn・t she try to express herself out. Was she afraid of the pressure the society put? Or there・re other reasons? Didn・t she love her husband? Then why she married him?