Feminism Versus Society in Adrienne Rich's Poem Aunt Jennifer's Tigers and Tillie Olson's Poem, I Stand Here Ironing

Feminism Versus Society in Adrienne Rich's Poem Aunt Jennifer's Tigers and Tillie Olson's Poem, I Stand Here Ironing

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The theme of femininity is shown in great respects, in Adrienne Rich's poem "Aunt Jennifer's Tigers". Rich's poem holds a similar theme to Tillie Olson's "I stand here Ironing". These two writings both represent how society was critical on woman's roles. Although they are both based on the same societal theme, Rich's poem has a much stronger impact on its readers. Rich's poem is easier to relate to because it explains the struggle of women and the want for success and freedom. Rich explains the "weight" of Aunt Jennifer's wedding ring, which represents her bad marriage. This is easier for readers to relate to because it is a common problem in society. Women are often thought of as lower and weaker than men and Rich represents this in many forms. Aunt Jennifer's wedding band is "heavy" on her hand, which holds her back from being able to do her craft. This was represented by showing how men often held women back from showing their talents. Olson's poem also represents a lack of feminism, but it is based in the older days and takes a different path. Olson's poem represents a man's ability to leave the women and children to fend for herself. This is harder for readers to understand because there could be a lot of criticism about why the man left and how the wife could have better taken care of her family. Olson's poem not only shows the weakness of the mother but also shows the effect on her daughter.

Rich's poem is stronger because it better criticized how society viewed women, though Olson and Rich both used a similar approach to representing the expected role of women. In Rich's poem, Aunt Jennifer is sewing, and in Olson's poem the mother is ironing. Both authors took this approach because they wanted to show what society expect...


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...cted to be stay-at-home moms. Rich portrays her female character as the traditional stay-at-home mom character that is expected to do household chores and raise her family. Although both authors were taking a feminist approach they took two different paths at representing it. Because of these two approaches, the authors showed different problems in society. The approach of having a traditional woman was more successful for Rich because it was more common for someone to suffer from this at this time. Olson's story was strong but was viewed as uncommon because it was very rare that women were left alone with their children. Rich took a better approach by showing how the women that followed "tradition" were still suffering from the cruelness of society. Rich's poem better criticized society by showing that no women was treated properly no matter what role they followed.

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