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Analysis


Symbols, Imagery, Wordplay

Form and Meter

"Aunt Jennifer's Tigers" has twelve lines, and is made up of three stanzas of four lines each. Each stanza is made up of two couplets. A couplet is a pair of lines, which in the case of this poem a...

Speaker

We don't know all that much about the speaker of the poem. We don't even know his/her gender! (We are going to refer to the speaker as a woman, though, for the sake of simplicity.) We do know that...

Setting

There's no specific setting in this short poem. Our speaker doesn't really set the scene for us. She just launches right in to the story of Aunt Jennifer. We get the feeling that our speaker is a b...

Sound Check

"Aunt Jennifer's Tigers" is written in rhyming couplets (pairs of lines). There are six sets of these couplets, and they give the poem a bit of a sing-songy feel. The poem's subject matter—a patr...

What's Up With the Title?

"Aunt Jennifer's Tigers" is a poem about Aunt Jennifer and the tiger-ific tapestry that she creates. The poem's central question is: what's Aunt J's relationship with the tigers? Do they represent...

Calling Card

Adrienne Rich was as famous for her political activism as she was for her poetry. Her best poems, such as "Aunt Jennifer's Tigers," manage to be both beautiful poems and political acts in and of th...

Tough-o-Meter

This poem's not too tough to understand. We're pretty confident that you know what's going on. Still, "Aunt Jennifer's Tigers" does raise some pretty difficult and important questions that don't ha...

Trivia

Rich refused the National Medal of Arts Award in 1997, saying "I could not accept such an award from President Clinton or this White House because the very meaning of art as I understand it is inco...

Steaminess Rating

There's not even a hint of sex in this poem.

Allusions

Rich never specifically references the myth of Philomela in "Aunt Jennifer's Tigers," but it's a pretty neat story and it involves silenced women and a tapestry, so we thought we'd clue you in. Che...
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