CBSE Class 12 English - Aunt Jennifers Tigers
The Theme of the poem:
- The poem talks about the limitations or restrictions that a married woman experiences in her life.
“Aunt Jennifer’s ………. Chivalric certainty” (First stanza)
1. Prancing- A human quality which means walking in a very energetic manner. Here it’s used for the tiger.
2. Topaz- Means a shiny crystal, Yellow (color of tigers)
3. Denizen- The native or citizen of a place.
4. World of green- Represents forests here.
5.Certainty- Confidence. Here it shows the way the tiger is confident while he walks.
6.Chivalry- A social code of humans which has boldness, heroism, courage.
The poetess introduces us to the tigers that are in the needlework that she is making. Tigers are described as Beautiful and Bright.
The speaker tells us that these tigers are strong and they have no fear, the way they walk it shows their bravery, courage, and boldness.
“Aunt Jennifer’s ……… hand” (Second stanza)
1.Fluttering: means doing something in a hurry. (Here it is used by the poet to describe Aunt Jennifer’s movement while she is working on the wool which means that she is nervous and not confident, unlike the tigers that are certain in their movements.)
2.Wedding band: an engagement ring.
3.Massive: heavy or huge
The speaker further conveys that Aunt Jennifer is so nervous that she is unable to pull even the ivory needle. The massive weight of the uncle’s wedding band symbolizes the responsibilities of Aunt Jennifer as a married woman. By saying that it “sits heavily” the speaker directly points out the fact that she is weighed down by her responsibilities as a wife or by the duties she carries out as a married woman.
“When Aunt…… and unafraid” (Third stanza)
1.Terrified: Extreme fear or extremely afraid of something.
2.Ordeals: A very unpleasant experience.
3. Mastered: Gain control over.
In the last four lines of the poem, the speaker is imagining what will happen when Aunt Jennifer dies. Speaker says that her aunt will be “still ringed with ordeals she was mastered by” which means that even after her death she will not be free from her responsibilities they will follow her till her death. The word mastered here signifies that she was definitely not free and was controlled or suppressed.
The use of word ordeals makes it clear that even after her death she will be still tied with the unpleasant experience that was directed towards her. Compared to the tigers in the panel that she made who will go on prancing free, proud, certain and unafraid unlike her who will always be suppressed.
LITERARY DEVICES USED IN THE POEM:
- Aunt Jennifers’s tigers prance across a screen.
- Ringed with ordeals: means even death would not free her as the wedding band; a symbol of oppression would yet be o her finger.
SYMBOLS AND IMAGES:
- Wedding band- a symbol of oppression in an unhappy marriage. Its weight refers to the burden of gender expectations .ringed means encircled or trapped, losing individuality and freedom.
- Aunt Jennifer- a typical victim of male oppression in an unhappy marriage, who suffers a loss of individuality, dignity, and personal freedom silently. She becomes dependent, fearful and frail.
- Tigers- symbolize untamed free spirit. Here they stand in contrast to their creator's personality. 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 her. They pace and prance freely, proudly, fearless, confident and majestic, fearless of men.
- Yellow ( bright topaz) represents the sun and fierce energy, green reminds one of spring and vitality.
- Embroidery- a symbol of creative expression. The artwork expresses the Aunt’s suppressed desires and becomes her escape from the oppressive reality of her life.