tigers Essay

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Ode to Jennifer: An Explication of “Aunt Jennifer’s Tigers” The genius of Adrienne Rich’s poetry is easily defined by the uniquely drafted “Aunt Jennifer’s Tigers.” This poem is unique because every aspect of the writing is creatively used to convey its underlying meaning. “Aunt Jennifer’s Tigers” deals with an oppressed woman who uses embroidering to help her cope with a controlling husband. The heroine, Jennifer, shows great resourcefulness by creating this hobby to free herself from her husband’s dominant attitude. Although it is never addressed openly within the poem, Rich cleverly combines the use of structural organization, vivid imagery, and supportive metaphors to develop the unwritten theme of oppression and strength within “Aunt Jennifer’s Tigers.” Before reading “Aunt Jennifer’s Tigers,” the structure of the poem and its meaning must first be addressed. Three identically prepared stanzas are used as a means of organization within this short poem. Each stanza is comprised of two couplets that utilize the aabb rhyme scheme: Aunt Jennifer's tigers prance across a screen, Bright topaz denizens of a world of green. They do not fear the men beneath the tree; They pace in sleek chivalric certainty. (lines 1-4) This opening verse illustrates enjambment, which is consistently used to express separate ideas within each couplet throughout the poem. This consistency also extends to the layout of every stanza; the stanzas each begin with an instance of imagery and are concluded by the use of a metaphor. The implementation of such a controlled prose is the first example of how Rich uses her poetic genius to express control within the relationship between Jennifer and her husband. Although the strict organization of “Aunt Jennifer’s Tigers” is confining, the subject matter contained within it defies this oppressive force to show Jennifer’s

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