Explain the imagery and symbols Adrienne Rich uses in the poem "Aunt Jennifer's Tigers."

The imagery and symbols Adrienne Rich uses in the poem include Aunt Jennifer's wedding ring and the tigers. The wedding ring symbolizes Aunt Jennifer's frightening, repressive marriage, while the tigers symbolize her defiant, creative spirit. While the ring is described as heavy and burdensome, the tigers are described with lively, vibrant imagery.

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The imagery in "Aunt Jennifer's Tigers" reflects a shift in tone, moving from an imaginative release to a devout defiance. Aunt Jennifer is trapped in a marriage which is a "massive weight" upon her. The imagery in the beginning of the poem reflects a strong creative spirit. The tigers "prance" at her fingertips. The colors are green and topaz, reflecting life and youth. Topaz is often a symbol of love. The tone is fearless as the tigers are seen pacing with a "sleek" pace.

The tone shifts quickly in the second stanza as Aunt Jennifer's hand is seen "fluttering." This connotes fear and trepidation, which aligns with the weight of the wedding band on her finger. A simple needle is "hard to pull" because of her fear and uncertainty.

In the final stanza, those hands are seen as "terrified" even after Aunt Jennifer dies. Her wedding ring has been her master, forcing her to be trapped in sinister "ordeals." Yet Aunt Jennifer's tigers are still described with vivid imagery; they are "prancing,...

(The entire section contains 3 answers and 819 words.)

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