AUNT JENNIFER’S TIGERS-Question and
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
Q.1 Why are the tigers called
‘Aunt Jennifer’s tigers?’
Ans.The tigers are knitted by Aunt
Jennifer and therefore they belong to Aunt Jennifer and they behave fearlessly
just as Aunt Jennifer had taught them. Moreover, they are different from other
Q.2.Where do the tigers
Ans. The tigers prance up to the higher branches of tress in a wild
green forest that is drawn on a panel or canvas.
Q.3.What is topaz? How is it descriptive to the tiger?
Ans. Topaz is a kind of
precious yellow stone. The yellow color signifies the
bright yellow fur of the tiger. The feminine beauty of the tiger is well
represented by the ornate topaz color and the black
stripes running through it.
Q,4. How are Aunt Jennifer
and her tigers the indicators of the poet’s own life?
Ans. Adrienne Rich’s life
and poems were dedicated to the freedom of the suppressed American women. Aunt
Jennifer is no one else than Adrienne Rich while her
tigers are the new generation of American women.
Q.5Who are they in these
Ans. They are the tigers of Aunt Jennifer on the panels.
Q.6.Why don’t they fear men beneath the tree?
Ans. Aunt Jennifer’s
tigers are fearless and confident. They have chivalrous qualities and therefore
they do not fear men.
Q,7.Explain, ‘sleek chivalric
certainty.’ What makes the tigers pace in sleek chivalric certainty?
Ans. Sleek, chivalric and
certainty are the three qualities of the tigers knitted by Aunt Jennifer. Sleek
indicates the smoothness of their movement while chivalric and certainty are fearlessness and confidence respectively. As
the tigers have overcome the fear of men beneath the tree, they pace in sleek
Q.8.What do you mean by
the certainty that the tigers possess?
Ans. The tigers used to fear the men. But once they were made by Aunt
Jennifer, they learnt courage. In their new birth these tigers feel at ease and
confident. Now they do not have to run away from anyone. They move slowly. They
fingers fluttering through her wool
Find even the
ivory needle hard to pull.
weight of Uncle’s wedding band
Sits heavily upon Aunt Jennifer’s hand.
Q.1.Why do Aunt’s fingers flutter?
Ans. Aunt Jennifer is the
victim of male domination. She loves to knit tigers for the realization of her
dreams. While she does so she finds it difficult to pull her light ivory needle
due to the weight of the marriage ring that her husband put in her finger years
Q.2.How does the poet use ‘wool’ and ‘ivory needle’ to
reveal the weightlessness/ease of Aunt’s
Ans. Wool and ivory needle
are very light to carry. They are so light that one doesn’t notice their
weight. The poet intends to create an atmosphere of complete weightlessness and
ease through these objects used for knitting.
Q.3. Why is the Uncle’s wedding band massively heavy
to Aunt Jennifer?
Ans. In fact a wedding band is very light, but for Aunt Jennifer it is a
sign of her husband’s dominance over her. It has become a burden for her that
limits her freedom as a social being.
Q.4.Why is the term ‘sits’ used instead of ‘remains?’
Ans. Sits here refers to
domination over someone’s freedom. For Aunt Jennifer her husband’s wedding ring
was no sign of love or care. For her it was a sign of suppression and burden.
Q.5.How does the poet draw the picture of male
domination through ‘Uncle’s wedding band?’
Ans. Uncle’s wedding band
for Aunt Jennifer was never a representation of love or matrimony. The band
symbolized bondage for her. Like a rope binds one, the wedding band bound her.
When Aunt is
dead, her terrified hands will lie
with ordeals she was mastered by.
The tigers in
the panel that she made will go on
Prancing, proud and unafraid.
Q.1.What will happen to Aunt Jennifer when she is
Ans. When Aunt Jennifer dies she will herself have no freedom even in
Q.2.Why are Aunt’s hands
Ans. Aunt Jennifer’s
dream-work was to knit tigers in her panels. While she did this she was
stopped, threatened and burdened by her husband. This fear of her husband later
left her hand terrified.
Q.3.Explain, “the ordeals she was mastered by…”
Ans. The ordeals that Aunt Jennifer had been mastered by were her
sufferings and difficulties that she had to suffer under her husband and the
burden that society had imposed upon her because she was a woman.
Q.4.Which were the ordeals
Aunt was a master of?
Ans. Aunt Jennifer’s life
was a life of submission, slavery and sufferings in a male dominated society.
She wanted to knit tigers for herself but the wedding band that her husband had
put in her finger stood a stumbling block in her life. By sitting on her finger,
the wedding band made her suffer a lot of pain while knitting tigers. By
bearing these sufferings she became a master of sufferings.
Q.5.Will Aunt have freedom
after her death? Why?
Ans. No, Aunt Jennifer will have no freedom even after her death. As a
tradition she will have to wear her matrimonial ring even in her grave. This
ring bore the mark of her slavery under man, her husband.
Q.6.How will male domination follow
Aunt beyond her life?
Ans. Male domination used
to haunt Aunt Jennifer throughout her life. When she wore her husband’s wedding
band on the day of marriage she became a slave of the male’s power. Later on,
even after her death, Aunt’s name will be engraved on her tombstone under her
husband’s name, but she will not have an identity of her own.
Q.7.What will happen to Aunt Jennifer’s tigers after
Ans. Aunt Jennifer’s
tigers will survive proudly and bravely even after their creator’s death.
Q.8.How can the tigers remain proud and unafraid even
after the death of their creator?
Ans. Aunt Jennifer was the
creator of the tigers in the panel. Even after her death these tigers will live
proud and unafraid with the cherished feelings that they are no more the slaves
of men. They feel proud of their newly achieved free status in the society and
of their great liberator, Aunt Jennifer.
Q.9.How do these lines shed light on the success of
Adrienne Rich in her attempts to liberate the female species of America?
Ans. Aunt Jennifer is the
poetic representation of Adrienne Rich. Aunt left a flock of tigers on her
panel to prance unafraid. Similarly did the poet do by strengthening,
empowering and awakening a new generation of American women to stand confident
on their feet. Aunt’s tigers and the new American
women are the same.
Q.10.Bring out the symbolic representation of the poet
Adrienne Rich, her works, struggles, her success in freeing women through the
image of Aunt Jennifer.
Ans. Aunt Jennifer is a
parallel character who represents the poet Adrienne Rich, her attempts to
liberate the women folk from male domination, her struggles and ordeals, and
finally, her victory. Like Aunt Jennifer who knitted tigers with wool and
needle, Adrienne Rich knitted a new America inhabited by brave women. However,
while knitting her tigers, Aunt Jennifer had to face difficulties because she
wore a heavy wedding band imposed upon her by her husband. Similar was Rich’s
experience. She too had to face harsh attacks from her society for writing
poems against the existing male domination. Aunt Jennifer never had a time free
from ordeals. She was constantly haunted by her fear of the wedding band.
Similarly did Rich have to live till her death.
Unfortunately the male ruled her even after her death as she still had to bear
her hushand’s name even in her grave. The two women
had similar life and death and pains and failure at death but what they left
behind them was a brave generation. Aunt Jennifer left behind her a number of
fearless tigers while Rich had new generation of brave women to succeed her.
Q.11.How are tigers symbolic
Ans. Tiger is a feminine
symbol. The bright yellow color of topaz and the dark
lines that adorn their sleek fur give tigers beauty
rather than grandeur or might. Moreover, their submissive yet fearless
attitude, even in front of their enemy, gives them the female maturity.