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The Use of Symbols in Adrienne Rich's Poem, Aunt Jennifer's Tigers

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Length: 817 words (2.3 double-spaced pages)
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The Use of Symbols in Adrienne Rich's Poem, Aunt Jennifer's Tigers


Freedom has always been an important value in the United States that most people are not willing to give up. Ralph Waldo Emerson, a writer who lived in the 1800s, reminded Americans of their rights of liberty at a time when many people started to conform to established norms. He voiced his opinions about the loss of freedom and invited society to realize that they were relinquishing their rights. Years later, his views still had an impact on citizens. Adrienne Rich, a poet of the mid-1900s, also found her autonomy a necessity in life. She wrote a poem in 1951 called "Aunt Jennifer's Tigers," which exhibited her opinions about living a life of reliance on others. The poem illustrates a woman sewing a scene of tigers roaming through a field, whose hands are weighed down by the heavy wedding band that she wears. Rich uses the symbols of the ring and the tigers to convey her belief in Emerson's ideas of self-reliance.

An Emerson-influenced world would be one without interdependence, as his principles of self-relia...

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