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Class 12 English FLAMINGO – POETRY ~ Aunt Jennifer's Tigers

Aunt Jennifer's Tigers

–Adrienne Rich

Aunt Jennifer’s Tigers Summary

The poet expresses the inner feelings of a woman - Aunt Jennifer. The aunt is embroidering a motif comprising of energetic, fearless tigers moving freely around the bright greenery.
She is living a life of submissiveness to her husband’s command. Her acts are dominated by him and she fears him constantly. This pattern of the free and fearless tigers reflects her inner desire to live a free and fearless life. The tigers are graceful, elegant and bright.
Aunt Jennifer’s fingers tremble as she embroiders. She is old but still fears her husband. She does not enjoy the freedom to do anything as per her wish. She is scared doing the embroidery too and fears his wrath. Since the day she got married, she has been fulfilling the demands of her husband. The wedding ring on her hand is a constant reminder that she belongs to her husband. The burden of the demanding marriage has exhausted her. The torment will not end until her death.
Even after her death, the ring will remain on her hand and she will never be free. On the other hand, the tigers that she is embroidering will continue to move around freely forever. Her desire of freedom and fearlessness will live on through her tigers.

Q1- Who is the poet of the poem Aunt Jennifer’s Tigers?
A) Adrienne Rich
B) Jonathan Aaron
C) J. H. M. Abbott
D) Mark Abley

Q2- What is the poet known for?
A) She is widely known for her involvement in contemporary women’s movement as a poet and theorist
B) for her beauty
C) for her philosophy
D) for her poems

Q3- How many volumes of poetry has she published?
A) 18
B) 29
C) 39
D) 19

Q4- What does echo through her work?
A) A strong resistance to racism and militarism
B) her love for poetry
C) her passion of essay writing
D) her wish to publish her work

Q5- What issue does the poem Aunt Jennifer's Tigers address?
A) constraints of women
B) constraints of married life a woman experiences
C) constraints of women as a poet
D) None

Q6- What do you understand by the words ‘denizens’ and ‘chivalric’ in the poem?
A) The dominant and highly arrogant attitude of the wild animal-tiger
B) tiger is a wild animal
C) tiger is hungry
D) beauty of the tiger

Q7- Which words depict the dominant and arrogant attitude of the wild animal in the poem ?
A) dominant
B) arrogant
C) adorable
D) denizens and chivalric

Q8- What do aunt Jennifer's fluttering hands through her wool in the second stanza tell us?
A) the lost freedom and fear of Jennifer's mind because marital restraints
B) her old age
C) her love for embridery and knitting
D) her love for tigers

Q9- Why is she finding the needle so hard to pull?
A) because of fluttering fingers
B) because of trembling hands
C) because of her fears
D) because of the heavy weight of her marriage ring

Q10- What does the image 'massive weight of the wedding band ' mean?
A) wedding bond of hard married life
B) fatty structure of uncle
C) fatty body of aunty
D) heavy body of tiger

Q11- Of what or of whom is aunt Jennifer terrified of in the 3rd stanza?
A) of tigers
B) of her death
C) of her old age
D) of her dominant husband

Q12- What are the ordeals aunt Jennifer is surrounded by?
A) wild animals
B) old people
C) a heavy crowd
D) heavy responsibilities of married life

Q13- What is the significance of the word ringed?
A) responsibilities
B) heavy duties
C) fatty people
D) responsibilities that formed circles like a ring eurrounding her finger

Q14- What is the meaning of the word 'ringed'?
A) circles of a ring
B) her wedding ring around finger
C) circles of responsibility of married life
D) none

Q15- What is the purpose of creating animals which are completely a contrast to aunt's character?
A) to show her strength and ability of not giving up in the face of difficulties
B) her courage
C) her fears and strengths
D) none

Q16- What is the poet suggesting through the different nature of characters in the poem?
A) Diversity in nature
B) all are different and unique
C) simultaneous nature of fears and strengths of aunt. Though she has fears, yet she is not defeated by them
D) all

Q17- Tell and interpret the meaning of 'Denizen of aworld of green'.
A) forest haters
B) forest lovers
C) forest dwellers
D) all

Q18- What is the attitude of the poet or speaker towards aunt Jennifer?
A) critic
B) very harsh and rude
C) indifferent
D) full of appreciation and sympathy

Q19- Does Aunt Jennifer need sympathy?
A) yes
B) no
C) no, more than sympathy she deserves praise
D) none

Q20- What is the wedding band?
A) ring
B) ring ceremony
C) marriage between uncle and aunt
D) All

Q21- What did marriage bring for Jennifer?
A) unhappiness
B) loss of freedom
C) loss of freedom and burden as if she has put on a heavy band
D) a heavy mountain

Q22- What is still fresh in Jennifer's mind?
A) happy moments
B) early days of marriage
C) uncle's attitude
D) the old unhappy memories

Q23- What did ordeals or tough times do in Jennifer's life?
A) they made her a hard hearted person
B) she developed hatred
C) she became weak
D) they crushed her artistic personality

Q24- Where do aunt's tigers belong?
A) to a cage
B) zoo
C) mountains
D) world of green forests

Q25- What is the poet conveying through aunt Jennifer's tiger?
A) wild life
B) courageous tigers
C) tigers and their courage
D) female existence and their fear of men
Q26- Interpret terrified hands.
A) Physical condition of aunt
B) mental stae of aunt
C) tensed ,troubled physical and mental state of aunt Jennifer
D) fears of aunt

Q27- What is the tone of the poem towards the end?
A) happy moments
B) resolving
C) hopeful
D) sad and tensed

Q28- How are aunt Jennifer's tigers different from her?
A) aunt lives in a city and tigers in forests
B) aunt is old and tigers are young
C) tigers are courageous and carefree and aunt is terrified
D) none

Q29- What is aunt Jennifer loaded with?
A) weight of rings
B) weight of tigers
C) burden of household work
D) heavy responsibilities of married life

Q30- What lies heavily on aunt Jennifer's hand?
A) needles
B) embrideries
C) work pressure
D) wedding ring

Q31- What does wedding ring represent?
A) beauty
B) expenses
C) unnecessary pressures of her dominant husband and responsibilities of married life
D) none

Q32- How do the Prancing tigers look?
A) just like diamond
B) just like Topaz
C) just like coal
D) just like stone

Q33- Why did aunt embroider tigers on the panel?
A) to express her supressed feelings
B) to express her strenghths
C) to express her fighting spirit of a warrior
D) All these

Q34- Why are tigers given the name Aunt Jennifer's tigers?
A) because she created them as an expression to her inner feelings
B) because she brought them
C) because she bought them
D) because she nurtured them

Q35- How are tigers described in the poem?
A) as ferocious
B) fearless
C) chivalric
D) All these

Q36- What is the meaning of the word 'Chivalric'?
A) ferocious
B) fearless
C) commanding and demanding high respect
D) None

Q37- What would Jennifer's terrified hands tell after her death?
A) story of her life
B) her constrained married life
C) her strength to find her ways and beat the fears
D) All these

Q38- What is presented through uncle's character?
A) Male strength
B)Man is powerful
C) man is like tigers
D) male chauvinism

Q39- Where are the tigers sleeping?
A) on the trees
B) on the mountain top
C) in the cage
D) in the caves

Q40- What is Aunt doing in the poem?
  1. Cooking
  2. Embroidery
  3. Reading
  4. Sleeping


Question.1. Read the extracts given below and answer the questions that follow.
When Aunt is dead, her terrified hands will lie
Still ringed with ordeals she was mastered by
The tigers in the panel that she made
Will go on prancing, proud and unafraid
(a) Who is the aunt mentioned here?
(b) Why is she “ringed with ordeals”?
(c) What is the difference between her and the tigers?
(d) Why has Aunt Jennifer created the tigers so different from her own character?
(a) Why are Aunt Jennifer’s hands terrified?
(b) Why did she make the tigers?
(c) What will happen to her tigers after her death? (Delhi 2012; Modified)
(d) How are Aunt Jennifer’s tigers different from her?
Answer.(a) The aunt mentioned here is Aunt Jennifer, the protagonist of Adrienne Rich’s poem ‘Aunt Jennifer’s Tigers’; she is a woman going through unpleasant experiences in her married , life.
(b) The ‘ring’ here refers to her wedding band or ring, which has brought with it a host of family responsibilities. She feels so surrounded (i.e. ringed) by her marital constraints that it seems like an ordeal to her.
(c) Aunt Jennifer is quite weak and submissive, whereas the tigers are strong, bold and powerful. She is bound by the constraints of her married fife, while the tigers are free to move about in the green woods.
(d) The tigers created by Aunt Jennifer are an expression of her desire to free herself from the constraints of her married life. She wants to be bold and fearless like her tigers.
(a) Her hands are ‘terrified’ (actually she is terrified) as she is passing through the very hard and bitter experience of married life. Here the poet has used her hands to represent her.
(b) She made the tigers because they are beasts of prey. They are chivalric and confident and do not fear men, which is totally contrasting with her own nature.
(c) The tigers will still keep prancing over the panel even when Aunt is dead. They will
outlive her.
(d) Aunt Jennifer’s tigers provide a striking contrast to her. The old lady is weak and- scared of men, whereas the tigers symbolise strength, power and fearlessness.
Question.2. Read the extract given below and answer the questions that follow.
Aunt Jennifer’s tigers prance across a screen,
Bright topaz denizens of a world of green
They do not fear the men beneath the tree,
They pace in sleek chivalric certainty
(a) How are Aunt Jennifer’s tigers described?
(b) Why are they described as denizens of a world of green?
(c) Why are they not afraid of the men? (Delhi 2010; Modified)
(d) What are her tigers symbolic of?
Answer. (a) Aunt Jennifer’s tigers have been described as golden yellow in colour. The prance fearlessly across a screen in sleek chivalric certainty.
(b) They have been called as denizens of a world of green because they are the natives of dense green forests.

(c) They are not afraid of men because they are brave, strong, fearless and full of confidence.
(d) Her tigers are symbolic of Aunt Jennifer’s desire for freedom. They are also symbols of strength and self-confidence.

Short Answer Type Questions (3 Marks, 30-40 words)
Question.1. What are the difficulties that Aunt Jennifer faced in her life? (Delhi 2014)
What are the ordeals that Aunt Jennifer faced in her life? (Foreign 2009)
Answer. Aunt Jennifer was probjbly a victim of oppression at the hands of the patriarchal society. She was subjugated by her husband and the weight of the wedding band i.e. her wedding ring, felt heavy on her hand. She was so terrified that her hands fluttered even when she carried something so light as wool.
Question.2. How are Aunt Jennifer’s tigers different from her? (All India 2014)
How are the tigers different from her? (Foreign 2009)
Answer. Aunt Jennifer’s tigers are created by her on the tapestry. However, they present a sharp contrast to their creator. While the Aunt is weak, meek and submissive and is scared of expressing her feelings openly, the tigers are strong, fearless and confident. They are bold creatures and are scared of no one. The aunt is in bonded in matrimony and faces several restrictions. Qn the other hand, the tigers move about freely.
Question.3. How does Aunt Jennifer express her bitterness and anger against male dominance?
(Compartment 2014)
Answer. Aunt Jennifer is too terrified to openly resist the oppression that she is victim of. She expresses her bitterness and anger against male dominance silently through her art. She creates tigers on her tapestry; animals that are symbolic of bravery, fearlessness and strength. Besides, she portrays these tigers as creatures unafraid of the men around them. The tigers she creates are wild and free from any kind of bondage.
Question.4.What will happen to Aunt Jennifer’s tigers when she is dead? (Delhi 2013)
Answer. The tigers created by Aunt Jennifer are eternal. They will keep on prancing even after her death. She probably wants to convey that the tigers which represent the Aunt’s inner sense of freedom will stay forever.
Question.5.What lies heavily on Aunt Jennifer’s hand? How is it associated with her husband?
(All India 2013)
What is the weight that lies heavy on Aunt Jennifer’s hand? How is it associated with her husband? (Foreign 2010)
Answer. The weight that lies heavy on Aunt Jennifer’s hand is the wedding band, which symbolises the weight of her married life. Probably, the weight has burdened her so much that she feels subjugated. Aunt Jennifer had a troubled married life with a dominating and oppressive husband.
Question.6. Why did Aunt Jennifer choose to embroider tigers on the panel? (Delhi 2012, All India 2009)
Answer. Aunt Jennifer chose to embroider tigers on the panel because for her, the tigers were the symbols of bravery, fearlessness and strength. These creatures are not afraid of the men around them. Her embroidering the tigers is perhaps an expression of her own bitterness and anger against male dominance.
Question.7. How do the words, ‘denizens’ and ‘chivalric’ add to our understanding of Aunt
Jennifer’s tigers? (All India 2012)
How do ‘denizens’ and ‘chivalric’ add to our understanding of the tiger’s attitudes?
(Delhi 2011)
Answer. ‘Denizens’ denotes occupants or citizens and ‘chivalric’ points to fearlessness, honour, bravery and majesty. Tigers are very possessive about their territory. They live on their own terms and fear none, as they regard themselves superior in their own domain, The poet finds similarities between the propensity-of tigers and men.
Question.8.Why do you think Aunt Jennifer created animals that Die so different from her own
character? What might the poet be suggesting through this difference? (All India 2011)
Answer. Aunt Jennifer is a weak and terrified person who, all through her life, was suppressed by the constraints of marriage. The animals that she is creating in her panel are very different, as they are chivalric and do not fear men. They are a symbol of strength, fierceness and beauty. They represent Aunt Jennifer’s suppressed desire to become bold and fearless, and free from oppression. The poet wants to emphasise the spirit and desire for freedom which is innate in all human beings.
Question.9. How does the poet describe Aunt Jennifer’s tigers?(Delhi 2008)
Describe the tigers created by Aunt Jennifer. (All India 2008, Delhi 2009)
Answer. According to the poet, Aunt Jennifer’s tigers are golden-yellow in colour. He describes them as prancing across the screen. They are denizens of a world of green. The tigers are sleek, chivalric, majestic and elegant. Also, they are brave and fearless.

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