English CBSE Class 12 NCERT Flamingo Poem 6 Aunt Jenifer’s Line by Line Explanation and Meaning of Difficult Words
AUNT JENIFER’S TIGERS
Poet – Adrienne Rich
The poet is talking about an old lady. She has been addressed as Anut Jennifer.
|Prance||Walk or run energetically|
|Topaz||A gem of yellow colour|
Aunts Jennifer is doing embroidery work on a piece of cloth. In the background there is green forest. Colour of tigers is bright yellow same as that of a topaz. These tigers are resident of green forest. They appear running with full of energy.
Aunt Jennifer is an old lady. Aunt Jennifer is drawing her wishes through embroidery. She wants her life to be bright. She wants her life to be free. Presently her life does not have any of these attributes.
|Chivalric||Polite and kind behaviour|
These tigers are fearless. They are not afraid of persons sitting under the tree. They are moving elegantly in a manner of a gentleman. They are moving with confidence and certainty about themselves.
Here the poet is bringing a contrast. The tigers are free and fearless. But the Aunt Jennifer is not free. She is afraid of her husband. She is not at all confident that her feelings will be respected.
|Ivory||Colour similar to white|
|Ivory||Tusk of an elephant|
Finger of Aunt Jennifer were trembling while holding the thread of embroidery. It was difficult for her to pull the needle. The needle was of ivory colour. (It can also mean that needle was made of ivory)
Aunt Jennifer is so feeble that she cannot protest against the bad behaviour of her husband. Her trembling fingers symbolize her fear. The weak hand symbolizes lack of confidence and strength.
|Wedding band||Wedding ring|
|Sits heavily||Great burden|
|weight of Uncle’s wedding band||Alliteration|
She was wearing the wedding ring. It was given to her by her husband. This wedding ring is a great burden to Aunt Jennifer.
The restrictions and difficulties imposed because of her marriage are high. She is not able to overcome these. Now she had become used to difficulties.
|Mastered by||Used to|
|her terrified hands||Synecdoche|
|her terrified hands||Alliteration|
Even when Aunt Jennifer dies, she will continue to have fears of her husband. Her frightened hands will still indicate the troubles she had become used to.
Even at her death, she will not be able to come out of the restrictions. Her terrible hands will go on reminding about difficulties she had faced and become used to in her life time.
By using an expression ‘her terrified hands’ poet means that Aunt is terrified. Hence this poetic device is Synecdoche.
The tigers she had made on the piece of the cloth, will move energetically. They will be proud of themselves and not afraid of anything.
Again a contrast is created by the poet. The tigers in her embroidery are free, fearless and proud of themselves. While life of Aunt Jenifer is exactly opposite. The frame of embroidery represents her wish to be away from her present conditions.