Showing posts with label poem. Show all posts
Showing posts with label poem. Show all posts

Wednesday, February 22, 2023

Class XI - English - Woven Words - Poem - For Elkana

 Complete Text of the Poem

The warm April evening
tempts us to the breezes
sauntering across the lawn.
We drag our chairs down
the stone steps and plant them there.
Unevenly, to sit or rather sprawl
in silence till the words begin to come.
My wife, as is her way,
surveys the scene, comments
on a broken window-pane.
Suggests a thing or two
that every husband in the neighbourhood
knows exactly how to do
except of course the man she loves
who happened to be me.
Unwilling to dispute
the obvious fact
that she is always right,
I turn towards the more
attractive view that opens up
behind my eyes and shuts her out.
Her voice crawls up and down the lawn,
our son, who is seven,
hears it—and it reminds him of something.
He stands before us,
his small legs well apart,
crescent-moon-like chin uplifted
eyes hard and cold
to speak his truth
in masterly determination:
Mummy, I want my dinner, now.
Wife and husband in unusual rapport
state one unspoken thought:
Children Must be Disciplined.
She looks at me. I look away.
The son is waiting. In another second
he will repeat himself.
Wife wags a finger.
Firmly delivers verdict: Wait.
In five minutes I’ll serve you dinner.
No, says the little one,
not in five minutes, now.
I am hungry.
It occurs to me the boy is like his father.
I love him as I love myself.
Wait, darling, wait,
Mummy says, wait for five minutes
But, I am hungry now,
declaims the little bastard, in five minutes
I won’t be hungry any more.
This argument appeals to me.
Such a logician deserves his dinner straightaway.
My wife’s delightful laughter
holds the three of us together.
We rise and go into the house.


The poem is a narrative of a family scene in April, where the warmth of the evening tempts the family to sit outside and enjoy the breeze. The husband and wife drag their chairs outside to sit in silence and enjoy each other's company until the words begin to flow. However, the wife breaks the silence by commenting on a broken window-pane and suggesting some fixes to it.

The husband, unwilling to dispute his wife's advice, turns his attention to the attractive view behind his eyes, shutting his wife out. Their seven-year-old son interrupts them, asking for dinner, to which the wife replies that he should wait for five minutes. The son insists that he is hungry and wants dinner now, but the wife tells him to wait.

The husband is amused by his son's logical argument that he won't be hungry in five minutes and decides to give him his dinner straight away. The wife's laughter brings the family together, and they all go inside the house.

The poem captures the everyday interactions and dynamics of a family, with the husband and wife having different personalities and approaches to parenting. The son's interruption serves as a reminder that children need discipline, and the family's laughter at the end signifies their ability to overcome their differences and come together.


The theme of the poem revolves around the complexities of family dynamics and the struggle for power between family members, particularly between parents and children. It also touches upon the theme of communication and the challenges that arise when family members struggle to understand and connect with each other. The poem ultimately suggests that despite these difficulties, families can find joy and togetherness through laughter and a shared sense of love and understanding.

Understanding the Poem

Question 1. Comment on the subtlety with which the poet captures the general pattern of communication within a family.


The poet captures the general pattern of communication within a family with great subtlety and nuance. Through the dialogue and actions of the family members, the poem reveals the various power dynamics and conflicts that exist within the family unit, without explicitly stating them. For instance, the husband's desire to ignore his wife's suggestion and focus on his own desires suggests an underlying power imbalance in their relationship, while the son's demand for immediate satisfaction reflects a struggle for independence and autonomy.

Furthermore, the poem also captures the complexities of communication within a family, such as the unspoken tensions and emotions that can exist between family members. The husband's desire to shut his wife out and focus on his own thoughts, for instance, reveals a lack of communication and understanding between them.

Overall, the poem's subtlety and nuance in capturing the general pattern of communication within a family is what makes it such an effective and relatable portrayal of family life. The poem's realism and honesty in portraying the challenges and conflicts that can arise within a family unit make it a poignant and insightful reflection on the human experience.

Question 2. Poetic effect is achieved in the poem through understatement and asides. Discuss this with examples.


The poem "The warm April evening" achieves poetic effect through the use of understatement and asides. Understatement is a literary technique where the speaker downplays the importance or severity of a situation, often to highlight the opposite effect. Asides, on the other hand, are remarks made by the speaker that are not intended for everyone to hear but serve to provide insight into their thoughts and feelings.

For example, in the poem, the husband's desire to ignore his wife's suggestion to fix the broken window pane is an example of understatement. Instead of acknowledging her suggestion, he turns his attention to the view in front of him, which suggests a lack of interest or investment in their conversation. This understated response highlights the power imbalance in their relationship, which is further emphasized by the wife's suggestion that every husband in the neighborhood knows how to fix the window except for him.

Asides are also used to great effect in the poem, particularly in the husband's internal dialogue. For instance, when his wife is speaking, he thinks to himself about the more attractive view that opens up behind his eyes and shuts her out. This aside highlights the disconnection between the husband and wife and adds depth to his character by revealing his inner thoughts and motivations.

Overall, the use of understatement and asides in the poem enhances the subtle and nuanced portrayal of family dynamics and communication, adding depth and complexity to the characters and their relationships.

Question 3. How is the idyllic juxtaposed with the pedestrian in the poem?


In the poem "The warm April evening," the idyllic is juxtaposed with the pedestrian through the contrast between the peaceful setting of the warm April evening and the mundane, everyday tasks and conflicts that arise within the family.

On one hand, the setting of the warm April evening is described in an idyllic way, tempting the family to spend time outdoors and enjoy the breezes across the lawn. The image of the family sitting in chairs on the stone steps, surrounded by nature, creates a peaceful and serene atmosphere.

On the other hand, the poem portrays the pedestrian reality of family life, with the wife commenting on the broken window-pane and suggesting that it be fixed. The husband's response to her suggestion, focusing on the attractive view that opens up behind his eyes and shutting her out, suggests a lack of engagement and investment in their relationship.

The son's demand for immediate satisfaction, regardless of his parents' plans, adds to the contrast between the idyllic and the pedestrian. The family's decision to go inside and have dinner together is a mundane, everyday task, but the wife's delightful laughter at the end of the poem suggests that, despite the conflicts and challenges that arise within the family, they are able to find joy and togetherness in simple moments like this.

Overall, the juxtaposition of the idyllic with the pedestrian in the poem highlights the complexities of family life and the struggle to balance everyday tasks and conflicts with the desire for peace, love, and togetherness.

Question 4. Explain the undertones in the statement: ‘Wife and husband in unusual rapport
State one unspoken thought’:


In the poem "The Warm April Evening," the line "Wife and husband in unusual rapport state one unspoken thought" suggests that the couple is connected in a way that goes beyond spoken communication. This line has undertones of shared understanding, nonverbal communication, and unspoken agreement.

Throughout the poem, the husband and wife have different perspectives and approaches to various situations, such as the broken window-pane and their son's demand for dinner. Despite their differences, they are able to come together and present a united front in their response to their son's demand. The fact that they are in "unusual rapport" suggests that this type of agreement is not common in their relationship, but is something special that happens in this particular moment.

The line also suggests that the couple is able to communicate without words, as they are able to convey their agreement without speaking it out loud. This is reinforced by the fact that the thought they share is unspoken. This type of communication is further emphasized by the husband's internal dialogue throughout the poem, which reveals his thoughts and feelings about his wife and their relationship.

Overall, the undertones in the line "Wife and husband in unusual rapport state one unspoken thought" suggest a deeper level of connection between the couple that goes beyond verbal communication. It highlights the importance of nonverbal communication, shared understanding, and unspoken agreement in relationships.

Question 5. Comment on the capitalisation of all the words in the line: ‘Children Must be Disciplined’.


In the poem "The Warm April Evening," the capitalisation of all the words in the line "Children Must be Disciplined" serves to emphasize the importance and authority of the statement. The capitalisation of every word in the phrase draws attention to it and gives it a sense of gravity and importance.

By capitalising every word, the poet creates a sense of formality and seriousness around the idea of discipline for children. It suggests that this is not just a casual suggestion, but rather a rule that must be followed. This is reinforced by the fact that the phrase is presented as an unspoken thought between the husband and wife, which further emphasises the weight and authority of the statement.

The capitalisation also reflects the idea that discipline is a universal truth that applies to all children, regardless of their individual circumstances or personalities. It suggests that the need for discipline is a fundamental part of parenting and that it is not something that can be ignored or taken lightly.

Question 6. What makes the urgency of the child’s demand seem logical?


In the poem "The Warm April Evening," the urgency of the child's demand for dinner seems logical because it is based on a simple and logical argument. The child argues that he is hungry now and therefore needs to eat now, rather than waiting for five minutes.

This argument is logical because hunger is a basic need that requires immediate attention. The child's demand for dinner is not based on a whim or a desire for something frivolous, but rather on a basic need that must be met in order for him to function properly. Therefore, his demand for dinner seems urgent and reasonable.

Additionally, the child's argument is presented in a simple and straightforward way that is easy to understand. He does not use complex reasoning or try to manipulate his parents in any way. Instead, he presents a simple and clear argument that is based on his immediate needs.



On a warm April evening, the gentle breeze entices a couple to sit outside and relax. They take their chairs down the stone steps and sit in silence, waiting for the words to come. The wife takes in their surroundings, commenting on a broken window pane and making suggestions about what needs to be done. The husband does not argue, as he knows she is always right. Instead, he focuses on the view in his mind's eye and shuts her out.

Their seven-year-old son hears his mother's voice and comes outside, standing before them with his chin up and his eyes hard and cold. He demands his dinner, insisting that he is hungry and cannot wait. The wife and husband are in agreement that children must be disciplined, but the husband sees himself in his son's argument and agrees that it is logical.

After a moment of laughter, they go inside to have dinner together.

Monday, January 23, 2023

Class X - First Flight- Poem - For Anne Gregory by William Butler Yeats


Poem - For Anne Gregory by William Butler Yeats

About the Poet

William Butler Yeats was an Irish poet and nationalist born in Dublin. His ideas and works were influenced by the religious and national turmoil in Ireland. He loved Irish folklore. He embraced metaphysical philosophy Folklore and mysticism dominated his thoughts and poetry. He won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1923.

Central Idea of the Poem

Yeats is of the view that most people love others just because they attract them physically. The complexion of the skin and the colour of the hair are more important to us than the 'real' worth of a person. We rarely love people for themselves alone. Even the beautiful Anne Gregory is not liked or loved for her inner beauty or her rare qualities of head and heart but for her beautiful yellow hair. Shallow-minded people adore only physical beauty. We should look for spiritual beauty before falling in love with a lady. Physical beauty is just skin-deep. It is momentary. Unfortunately, most people are attracted by the colour of skin and hair. Only God can love a person for himself alone.

Summary of the Poem

1. Love for Yellow Hair: This poem of W.B. Yeats has been addressed to a young and beautiful lady named Anne Gregory. The physical charm of the young lady is irresistible. Her honey-coloured blonde hair falling on her ear easily attract the onlookers. The hair falling on the ears look like the ramparts or wide walls around a castle. However, it is difficult to say that a young man is thrown into despair and starts loving her only for 'herself alone'. The physical beauty of her hair is so irresistible that the lover doesn't even bother to know whether the young lady has internal beauty and possesses nobility of the soul.

2. Superficial Physical Appearance: Anne Gregory's response in the second stanza is quite expected. She wants to say that she can get hair dye of any kind or colour. It depends on her if she colours her hair brown, black or carrot colour. She explodes the myth of physical beauty. She asks why a young man should fall in love with her and sigh in despair only after seeing the colour of her hair. If at all, any young man shows his love for her, then, that love should be based on her merits She should be loved, not for her outward appearance but for her inner beauty or personality. Her character. personality and inner beauty must be the cause of attraction and not her yellow hair.

3. God's Ability to Look Inside: The poet resolves the conflict in the third stanza. The poet quotes a religious text to prove his point Men are men Humans will fall to physical attractions quite easily. It is quite possible for a young man to be attracted by the beauty of Anne Gregory's blonde hair. Only God has the ability to resist outwardly physical temptations Only God can judge a man or a woman by what he or she is or his or her merits Human beings, without God's strength, can't look beyond outward appearances and physical beauty.

Main Points of the Poem

  1. The poem is addressed to a young and beautiful lady named Anne Gregory.

  2. Her hair is honey-coloured or blonde

  3. Every young man loves Anne just because of her beautiful hair

  4. Her hair falling on her ears look like the ramparts surrounding a castle.

  5. The poet says that no one would love Anne Gregory for 'herself alone"

  6. No one cares for her inner beauty or the nobility of her soul.

  7. Her outward appearance and her yellow hair are the only causes for her attraction

  8. In the second stanza, the lady, Anne Gregory herself settles the issue.

  9. She says that she is free to choose what colour she uses to dye her hair 

  10. She can dye her hair brown or black or the colour of a carrot

  11. Any young man should fall in love with her only after judging her own merits.

  12. Her yellow hair or outwardly appearance should not make any young man to sigh for her in despair.

  13. She should be loved for 'herself alone'.

  14. In the last stanza, the poet resolves the issue.

  15. The poet quotes a religious text.

  16. It is beyond human beings not to be attracted by physical appearance or beauty.

  17. Human beings can be easily swayed by beautiful yellow hair or outwardly appearance.

  18. Only God has the ability to withstand the temptations of physical beauty.

  19. Men, without God's strength, simply can't look beyond physical appearances.


Thinking About the poem(page 141)

Question 1. 

What does the young man mean by "great honey-coloured/Ramparts at your ear?" Why does he say that young men are "thrown into despair" by them?


The "great honey-coloured ramparts" in the poem "For Anne Gregory" by William Butler Yeats refers to Anne's blonde hair. The metaphor of the ramparts suggests that her hair is striking and impressive, like the fortifications of a castle.

The color honey-colored is likely a reference to the golden and warm color of her hair and the use of the word "ramparts" emphasizes the striking visual impact of her hair. And as to why he says that young men are "thrown into despair" by them, the metaphor is a way of expressing how captivating and beautiful Anne's hair is and how it affects those who see it.


Question 2. 

What colour is the young woman's hair? What does she say she can change it to? Why would she want to do so?


The colour of the young woman's hair is golden. Her hair can be called 'blonde'. She says that she can change the colour of her hair according to her choice. She can dye the hair brown, black or carrot colour. She wants to show that outward appearances can easily be changed. A young man should not fall in love with her only after seeing her yellow hair or outward appearance. 

Question 3. 

Objects have qualities which make them desirable to others. Can you think of some objects (a car, a phone, a dress.....) and say what qualities make one object more desirable than another? Imagine you were trying to sell an object: what qualities would you emphasise? 


When comparing objects, different people may value different qualities, but some common ones that can make an object more desirable than another include:

  • A car: fuel efficiency, speed, luxury features, safety ratings, brand reputation

  • A phone: camera quality, battery life, processing power, storage capacity, design

  • A dress: fabric quality, style, fit, brand, durability

When trying to sell an object, the qualities that are emphasized would depend on the target market and what they value most. For example, if trying to sell a car to a consumer who values fuel efficiency, the salesperson would emphasize the car's fuel efficiency and its cost savings. If trying to sell a phone to a consumer who values photography, the salesperson would emphasize the phone's camera quality and the features it has for photography. If trying to sell a dress to a consumer who values style, the salesperson would emphasize the dress's design, the designer and the style that is in trend.

In general, the most desirable qualities of an object are those that are most useful, reliable, and aesthetically pleasing to the consumer, and that meet the consumer's needs.

A car is an easy way of personal transport. A phone is the easiest way of communication. Similarly, a dress can be used to make your personality more presentable before others. While selling an object, I will emphasize not only its appearance but also its inherent positive characteristics and features.

Question 4.

What about people? Do we love others because we like their qualities, whether physical or mental? Or is it possible to love someone "for themselves alone"? Are some people 'more lovable' than others? Discuss this question in pairs or in groups, considering points like the following:

  1. a parent or caregiver's love for a newborn baby, for a mentally or physically challenged child, for a clever child or a prodigy

  2. the public's love for a film star, a sportsperson, a politician, or a social worker. 

  3. your love for a friend, or brother or sister. 

  4. your love for a pet, and the pet's love for you.


It is possible to both love someone for their qualities, whether physical or mental, and to love someone "for themselves alone." People can be attracted to certain qualities in others, but ultimately it is the person as a whole that is loved.

A parent or caregiver's love for a newborn baby is often based on the unconditional love and bond that is formed from the moment the baby is born. This type of love is often independent of the baby's physical or mental characteristics and is based on the bond and responsibility of being a parent.

The public's love for a film star, sportsperson, politician, or social worker can be based on both their qualities and their actions. For example, a film star may be loved for their acting ability and good looks, while a social worker may be loved for their selfless actions and dedication to helping others.

Similarly, one's love for a friend, brother, or sister can be based on both their qualities and their actions, as well as the shared history and bond that exists between them.

As for a pet, the love for it can be based on their companionship, loyalty, and affection. The pet's love for its owner can also be based on these factors and the bond that is formed through care and attention.

It can be said that people can be "more lovable" in the sense that certain people may possess qualities that are more attractive to certain individuals. However, it is important to note that the concept of "lovability" is subjective and can vary from person to person.

Question 5.

You have perhaps concluded that people are not objects to be valued for their qualities or riches rather than for themselves. But elsewhere Yeats asks the question: How can we separate the dancer from the dance? Is it possible to separate the person himself or herself from how the person looks, sounds, walks and so on? Think of how you or a friend or member of your family has changed over the years. Has your relationship also changed? In what way?


It is true that people are not objects to be valued solely for their qualities or riches, but rather for themselves as individuals. However, it can be difficult to separate a person from their physical and mental characteristics, as these are integral parts of who they are.

In Yeats' poem, "How can we separate the dancer from the dance?" he is asking how we can separate the person from their actions and appearance. He is suggesting that it is difficult to love the person from how they look, sound, and walk, as these are all integral parts of their identity.

As people change over the years, their physical and mental characteristics change as well, and this can affect relationships. For example, as a person ages, their appearance may change and this can affect how others perceive them. Similarly, as a person's mental or physical health changes, their behavior and actions may change, which can affect how others interact with them.

It's important to remember that people are complex and multi-faceted, and that our relationship with them can change over time as we get to know them better and as they change. It's important to remember that one's worth is not based on their physical or mental characteristics but on their humanity, and that's what truly makes them valuable.

Friday, January 13, 2023

Class XII - English Core - Flamingo -Poem 5 - Aunt Jennifer’s Tigers

Poem Text

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.

Aunt Jennifer's finger fluttering through her wool

Find even the ivory needle hard to pull.

The massive weight of Uncle's wedding band

Sits heavily upon Aunt Jennifer's hand.

When Aunt is dead, her terrified hands will lie

Still ringed with ordeals she was mastered by.

The tigers in the panel that she made

Will go on prancing, proud and unafraid.


The poem "Aunt Jennifer's Tigers" was written by American poet Adrienne Rich in 1951. It appeared in her first published book of poems, A Change of World. Told from the perspective of an anonymous speaker, the poem describes a woman, Aunt Jennifer, who crafts vibrant tapestry panels (depicting tigers) to escape-mentally, at least, her unhappy marriage. Written at a time when divorce was unacceptable, the poem criticises the traditional institution of marriage, suggesting that it oppresses women.

Aunt Jennifer creates a needlepoint that shows tigers leaping across the canvas. Bright and vibrant, like topaz gems, the tigers live within the green world of the canvas. They are not afraid of the men standing underneath the tree, also depicted in the image. The tigers walk with certainty, grace and courage.

Aunt Jennifer's fingers swiftly and delicately work the yarn, yet she finds it physically difficult to pull even a small needle made of ivory through the canvas. Her husband's wedding band feels huge and weighs down heavily on her hand.

When Aunt Jennifer dies one day, her frightened hands will finally be still. Yet they will still be marked by the difficulties that ruled over her while she was alive. Meanwhile, the tigers she created will continue to leap across her needlepoint without shame or fear.


'Aunt Jennifer's Tigers' by Adrienne Rich is a multi-layered poem that uses the images of sewn tigers to talk about the institution of marriage. The poet also explored the themes like Female Role in the Home, the Female Role in Marriage, Animals as Women and Nature, Patriarchal Power, Individual Freedoms, Political Issues, Art as escapism etc.


This poem is a vigorous protest against male chauvinism and patriarchy which want to marginalize woman in every front. This poem offers a clear statement against the traditional marriage living relationship where women take the secondary role. Like Aunt Jennifer, millions of women still are a life of deprivation and subjugation. So this poem belongs to the feminist literary genre.


The title, 'Aunt Jennifer's Tigers' is appropriate as it suggests that the poem is about Aunt Jennifer's knitted tigers. With their chivalrous, ferocious, bright and carefree attitude, she creates an alternate world for herself. These tigers are the only means of free expression in her life, which is otherwise burdened by fear and struggles of married life.

Form, Style and Literary Devices

It's a formal rhyming poem, an early example of Adrienne Rich's work. Through the short lines of the poem, the speaker embodies the struggle this woman is going through and juxtaposes it against the tigers that she's creating. Their power is contrasted against her own lack of power.

In three verses, the reader is left in no doubt that Aunt Jennifer has suffered over the years and is looking for a positive way to express her artistic talents before it's too late.

The tigers she creates will outlast her and become a symbol of freedom and independence.

Structure: The poem's structure hints at the parallel existence of freedom and fear. In the first stanza, we get a description of the tigers. In the next stanza, we find a picture of Jennifer's life. In the final stanza, Jennifer's life and the tigers' fearless movements interact. The final victory of the tigers outlives the death of the woman. The first 'stanza describes artistic freedom but the second stanza narrates patriarchal power The structural similarity between the two stanzas rather highlights the binary opposition between rebellion and repression. In the final stanza, repression and rebellion are seen together. It indicates that women can revolt if only they throw away the conventions represented by the wedding ring.

Tone: The poem's voice is distant, which is created by the third-person point of view. The third-person narrator, a third-person viewpoint and the older generation have made Aunt Jennifer more authentic. The choice of diction suggests the vigour of the animals and the lifelessness of Jennifer. The words 'prance', 'pace', 'denizen', 'bright', 'proud', unafraid', 'sleek, chivalric' are associated with tigers. However, negative words like 'massive weight, sits heavily. terrified hand', ringed', and 'ordeals' highlight the weak points of Jennifer's life. Moreover, in the case of tigers, we get references to strong verbs and active voices. On the contrary, in Jennifer's case, we get passive voices suggesting the passivity of her life. 

Poetic Devices

Rhyme Scheme

'Aunt Jennifer's Tigers' is a three-stanza poem separated into stanzas of four lines, known as quatrains. These quatrains follow a simple rhyme scheme of AABB, with the couplets changing end. sounds from stanza to stanza. While there is evidence of metrical patterns in 'Aunt Jennifer's Tigers,' it is not entirely consistent. There are sections of the poem in which Rich uses nearly perfect iambic pentameter and moments where she moves away from it and uses trochees instead.

It is a conventional rhyme scheme. However, Rich has brought the protest through this pattern. It seems that she has made the poem's structure conventional to highlight the conventionality of the protagonist's life and discuss about Critical appreciation of "Aunt Jennifer's Tigers".


It is quite important in this poem. It can be seen through the description of the tigers, their landscape, and Aunt Jennifer's hands.

Rich has used animal imagery to inject power and vigour into the vision of Jennifer, which she terribly misses in her personal life. Tigers are the popular symbols of power and rebellion. Rich's tigers signify the vital life force that conventional society hardly allows for women. The creator of the tigers, Jennifer, lives a life of fear, depression and submission. But her tigers are fiercely uncompromising. Here the animal imagery suggests violence and energy, which women aspire to acquire but painfully lack.


It is a simple and helpful technique There is a good example in the first stanza with the repetition of "They” at the start of lines three and four. 


It helps to create a feeling of rhythm and rhyme even if one does not exist. For example, "fluttering fingers" in stanza two and "prancing, proud" in stanza three.


Heavy wedding band: Symbolises oppression in an unhappy marriage; Tigers: Untamed free spirit. The central symbols of the poem are the tapestry tigers and the Uncle's wedding band. The tapestry tigers are not just individual artistic expressions, and they are politically inflected, engaged in patriarchal chivalry myths. The personal and the political again meet in the intimacy of Uncle's wedding band. By the physical intimacy of a wedding band and by the familial presence conferred by 'Uncle's wedding band’, Aunt Jennifer's Tigers specify the presence of patriarchal politics. The interplay between rebellion and repression has made the poem enjoyable. This poem underscores the theme of power and social status. Aunt Jennifer is assigned the role of an aunt. She has no independent identity. In the poem, her name is mentioned four times, and on every occasion, she is an aunt. This imposition has fragmented her role.


The weight of husband's wedding ring


Here a trembling and ‘mastered’ woman creates free and confident creatures in her artistic endeavours. Fluttering fingers produce something that has ‘certainty’.


This poem identifies the problems of women in society. The male-dominated society subordinates women. So they have nothing to do but continue the roles imposed on them by their male counterparts. Aunt Jennifer is the representative of these ill-fated women. Marriage as an institution does not support them. It instead ensures their eternal bondage. That's why the wedding ring is inseparable from Jennifer's life. The final stanza points to the contrast between the fearless tigers and the lifeless aunt. In fact, through this contrast, Rich is stressing the basic idea of feminism. According to feminism, women are deprived of equal status because of social strictures and repressions. The tigers are beyond these norms, but Jennifer is confined within them.


Aunt Jennifer is creating animals that are so different from her own character. She is perhaps working on a panel or a strip of woollen cloth. With an ivory needle, she is making the figure of tigers moving freely in the forest. They have bright yellow coats with stripes. They are fearless of the men standing under a tree. They are proud of their freedom and physical strength.

Aunt Jennifer is weak; therefore, her feeble fingers fail to pull even a light needle. She is creating mighty tigers on a panel, but her own married life has been an utter failure. Uncle has, perhaps, been much too severe and insensitive to her feelings. The tiger symbolises what she has missed in her married life. Someday, Aunt Jennifer will quit this world. She would be lowered into the grave. Her weak and terrified hand will still have the mark of her suffering. She will remain a slave in her grave. The tigers, however, created by her will go on playing merrily forever, proud and fearless.

Stanza Wise Explanation

Stanza One

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. 

In the first stanza of Aunt Jennifer's Tigers, the speaker begins by describing the movement of the tigers across the fabric canvas. They are prancing "across a screen" in a "world of green". The perfect rhymes give this poem a sing-song-like sound juxtaposed against the darker subject matter. It creates a haunting atmosphere that allows for easy contemplation of the problems of marriage. The speaker describes very clearly how the tigers do not "fear the men beneath the tree". They move without fear or trepidation. It should be noted that this is a state that the artist, Aunt Jennifer, does not know. She is not without fear as they are.

The animals are personified. Rich uses words like "chivalric" (an older term that connects to a certain respectful yet patronising treatment of women) to describe them. They are masculine, without worry, and "certain" in their actions. This makes it seem even less likely that Jennifer will find this same strength.

Stanza Two

Aunt Jennifer's finger fluttering through her wool 

Find even the ivory needle hard to pull

The massive weight of Uncle's wedding band

Sits heavily upon Aunt Jennifer's hand.

The speaker describes in the next stanza how quickly Jennifer's fingers move. They "flutter” through the movements but are without real strength. The word "flutter" evokes the image of birds' wings and gentle movements. Her hands find the "needle hard to pull". There is something weighing them down, a "wedding band". The ring that ties her to her husband keeps her from moving beyond who she is at that moment. It sits heavily on her hand, her mind, and her soul.

Stanza Three

When Aunt is dead, her terrified hands will lie 

Still ringed with ordeals she was mastered by.

The tigers in the panel that she made

Will go on prancing, proud and unafraid. 

The third stanza begins with a striking move into the future. The speaker looks towards the time in which Jennifer is going to die. These lines are enjambed, encouraging the reader to move smoothly and quickly through the stanza. She will stop eventually, as will the movement of her hands. But the ring will still be there. Even in death, she will in some ways be tied to her "ordeals".

As she struggles, suffers, and dies, the tigers will continue to prance proudly on her page. They, unlike her, are "unafraid".


The speaker describes the tigers the aunt produced by using coloured threads on heavy cloth. They are set in motion. They are moving quickly by raising their front legs and jumping forwards on their hind legs in the green jungle. They look bright yellow and as valuable as topazes which reveals her dream of a happier life in her needlework.

There are men sitting under the tree, but the tigers do not care for them. They move on to their goal boldly and smoothly. Jennifer finds it difficult to make pictures by using the ivory needle. She is tired of doing the household work after she got married. She can't get herself involved in her artistic work. She has to do it in her leisure time. Even then she has to be sure whether her husband is watching her or not. So her hands are terrified. She will not be free from fear until she dies. She will be dominated by her husband. She will die, but her art will express her desire to move proudly and fearlessly like the tigers she has made.

Aunt Jennifer's hands are 'terrified' because of the massive weight of household duties. They are heavily pressed. They have undergone severe trials. She is dominated by her husband continuously. 'Fingers fluttering, 'ordeals', 'mastered', 'hard to pull' indicate her fear. By mentioning that it is 'Uncle's wedding band', the poet suggests that Uncle owns Jennifer too and that as a female, she is the property of her husband. The word 'massive' and 'heavily Aunt Jennifer lives a demanding sort of life in which she has to attend to her husband's needs and fulfil his commands. As a result she is somewhat worn out in her old age. Aunt Jennifer is 'ringed', trapped in her marriage and controlled like an animal. Her husband is her master. Her wish to be like the tiger, proud and unafraid' also shows her fear in real life. Tigers are fierce, courageous and independent animals. They lead the life the way they want to. But Aunt Jennifer is just opposite to tigers. She is quiet, coward, and totally dependent on her husband. She leads her life the way her husband likes for her. So tigers are an appropriate contrast to her.

Aunt Jennifer has an artistic talent. If she used it properly, she will surely become a great artist. But she has misused her ability because of cowardice. She can't go against the established pattern in life. She is pressed by 'the massive weight of household work. Instead of pleasing herself, she tries to please her dominating husband. She lives a quiet and subdued life. But the tigers she imagined are just opposite to her. They are proud, active, fearless, determined and chivalric. They move toward their goals with single-mindedness.

The tigers in the poem represent Jennifer's innermost desire. She wants to be strong like the tigers that do not fear the men. Like the beautiful animals in the jungle, she wants to create precious pieces of art. Her life has been uncertain, helpless. Her husband is strong and fearless, but he is not chivalrous. So she finds courage, justice and honour in the smooth movement of the tigers. Thus the tiger stand for her unfulfilled wishes. She can't revolt against him on her own. In order to gain freedom she must be like her tigers that prance being proud and unafraid. The word 'chivalric suggests her inner wish that is, her husband should show bravery, honour, generosity, and good manners to her like the knights in the Middle Ages did. She would like to go forward towards her aim, like the determined tigers.