Oppression in Aunt Jennifer’s Tigers

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Oppression in Aunt Jennifer’s Tigers

Composed in three carefully rhymed stanzas, the poem can firstly seem

an homage to the speaker’s skills in stitching a panel with tigers.

However, a detailed reading reveals images and symbols that suggest a

relation of oppression concerning Aunt Jennifer and her husband.

The tigers of Aunt Jennifer’s stitchings are representative of her

free spirit, how she pines for freedom from her burdensome husband.

The “bright topaz denizens of green” evokes the mental image of

majestic tigers not bound by the whims of another being. They do not

“fear the men below the tree,” something that Aunt Jennifer cannot do

in her miserable reality because of her oppressor’s looming presence.

She produces her tigers under his control, represented by "The massive

weight of Uncle's wedding band [that] / Sits heavily upon [her] hand."

Physically a wedding ring is light, but this one has a "massive

weight" heavily sitting on her hand. These images construct an

opposition between the couple: as a woman she has a creative force,

but her husband, represen...

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