Explain this line: "The massive weight of Uncle's wedding band / Sits heavily upon Aunt Jennifer's hand." Aunt Jennifer's actual wedding band, not her husband's...that she was talking...

Explain this line: "The massive weight of Uncle's wedding band / Sits heavily upon Aunt Jennifer's hand."

Aunt Jennifer's actual wedding band, not her husband's...that she was talking about how the marriage made her feel trapped. And that the ring was just another example of the hold her husband has on her. Not that it's her dead husband's ring. Am I right?

Expert Answers
gbeatty eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The wonder of this line, and this poem, is its ambiguity. By that I mean, Rich intentionally sets up the poem so it is open-ended—so readers don't know for sure which ring is meant. The emotional tone of the poem flips back and forth a bit as we decide one way or the other. Is the uncle placing a heavy hand on her, to stop her from sewing? Or is the ring a gift, meant with love, but still one that limits her as a person? What precisely are the "ordeals she was mastered by"? Is the uncle her master? Or just the heavy, heavy weight of life? We don't know for sure. We're just left with the vivid images of the hands, the rings, the tigers.