The tigers that Aunt Jennifer embroiders "do not fear the men beneath the tree" but, instead, move about, free and empowered, feeling confident and certain of their power and independence. Aunt Jennifer, on the other hand, even finds it "hard to pull" the "ivory needle" through the cloth she embroiders, what with the "massive weight of Uncle's wedding band" on her finger. The ring itself begins to sound more like a shackle when the speaker looks ahead to Aunt Jennifer's eventual death:
When Aunt is dead, her terrified hands will lie
Still ringed with ordeals she was mastered by.
Thus, while Aunt Jennifer's embroidered tigers will "go on prancing, proud and unafraid," it seems that her life has been spent in a state of relative powerlessness against her apparently abusive husband. Nonetheless, the fact that Aunt Jennifer embroiders such sleek and proud animals, animals without fear, indicates that there is a part of her that is like this too, or at least a part of her that values these qualities. She is not defeated by her spouse; there is a part of her that he can never master or control, and when she dies, it seems, that is what the speaker will go on remembering: Aunt Jennifer's strength and resilience in the face of such oppression and personal struggle.