Poetry Journal

Poster¡G Dee Dee Wang at 23:7:26 12/28/97 from f032.dialup.dj.net.tw
Aunt Jennifer's Tigers 

In the first stanza, the poet describes how the tigers on the wool walk and look. They are prancing vigorously in sleek paces without fearing any man. " They do not fear the men beneath the tree;" is a hint foreshadowing later developments because Aunt Jennifer is afraid of her "man". While the tigers are prancing, Aunt Jennifer's fingers are fluttering so much that she can't even hold the ivory needle. That is because there is the massive weight from Uncle's wedding ring, in other words, it is the pressure from Aunt Jennifer' husband that makes her different from what she made. Usually, artists make something that represents the true of them and that are of their inner heart. But here we can find a contrast between Aunt Jennifer and the tigers she made. 

The poet was a feminist at that time. She described clearly how women at the time were constrained by men, and she also revealed the inner desire to be free of women. Aunt Jennifer made her wool for her cry in heart, but she still could not get rid of her husband or be like the tigers she made. In past time, women were in the lower position than men were. They had no right to do anything no matter how hard they had tried. In the twentieth, women awoke from long sleep and started to struggle for their own rights. For example, western women got their own right to vote during the second war in the twentieth. Gradually, they were aware of what they could get as men did so they stood out to fight for it. This poem might tell women at the time that they should not be as weak as Aunt Jennifer but as vigorous as the tigers. 

There is something interesting we can find in this poem, which is the presence of tigers and fingers. The former are strong and proud while the latter are powerless and weak, but both of them have the rhyme of "er", which makes the whole poem connect more closely. 

Aunt Jennifer was always afraid of her husband until the last moment she stayed alive. Although her terrified hands lay down, she was still ringed with ordeals her husband made to her. It means that she was still afraid of her husband even when she was dead. She was such a poor woman that she could not free herself from her man, which gives both women and men at the time advice that women should be aware of what they were. 

We Real Cool 

In America, the Negroes are not respected as the white. They are in the lowest position in the society that they can't live well, eat well, or wear well. The Americans are extremely self-contradictory that they look down on the Negroes but rely on their sport and singing abilities to bring them more money. 

The poet was the first African-American writer to win a Pulitzer Prize. She used simple words and easy rhythm to express teenagers' complicated feelings, especially the Negro teenagers'. We can easily find out how the Negro teenagers are different from us. They do what they think right to prove their importance because they are ignored and looked down. 

They think what they do is cool and it also makes them cool. They drop school and fool around without being noticed, and they drink wine and dance without any one to interfere them. We do not see anything cool but stupid here, which makes us different from them. 

We study for entering a good college and for further education. We know what we really want by reading a lot of books. We have our own goal and we just go for it. We are respected and valued in this fair society because we are the future masters of this world. 

While we are happy to get something, the Negro kids are squatting in the dark and moist corner thinking where to go or what to eat tomorrow. Maybe nowadays the Negro are not as poor as I describe, but maybe it is the image of their inner thoughts. Teenagers always want others to look at them more to prove their importance to others so they usually do something strange to draw others' attention. If they are still ignored, they may feel disappointed and degenerate themselves. They get together with those whose age is the same as theirs because they understand one another the most. 

What I think is cool is totally different from what they think. I may not know exactly what cool means, but I know it is not to die soon. To be cool is not to do what you want without caring others' feeling but to behave yourself on your own.