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an example of how aunt jennifer tigers

Aunt Jennifer's Tigers
By Adrienne Rich
Aunt Jennifer's tigers stride 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.

Aunt Jennifer's fingers fluttering through her wool
Find even the ivory needle hard to pull.
The massive weight of uncle's wedding band
Sits heavily upon Aunt Jennifer's hand.

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 striding, proud and unafraid.



The first stanza sets the setting for Aunt Jennifer's dream world for her and her tigers (Aunt Jennifer represents all women who are caught under the oppressive hand of a patriarchal society). Aunt Jennifer's tigers represent what women desired to be like during that time period. The tigers are do not fear men and as depicted on line four are heroic and conduct themselves in a manly fashion. These confidents tigers represent everything women desire to be.

The second stanza represents the reality of Aunt Jennifer's life. She is depicted doing needlepoint, which happens to be a very traditional activity for a woman. However, she is having trouble with this activity as expressed in line 7. Her inability to do this needlepoint represents her inability to express herself in a male dominated society. This weight that rests "heavily" on her hand is not something she enjoys and is oppressing her from doing what she really wants to.

The third stanza gives us a truthful look at the reality and end of Aunt Jennifer. It re-emphasizes the impact living in this patriarchal society had had on her. Despite the tragic end of Aunt Jennifer's life these tigers and the ideas of an oppressed free life for women carry on.




What does Rich say about this poem?

"I'm startled because beneath the conscious craft are glimpses of the split I even then experienced between the girl who wrote poems, who defined herself in writing poems, and the girl who was to define herself by her relationships with men" (632).

Rich says this poem is an example of a split that took place in her earlier writing. She has written in the oppressors (male) style however, has expressed feelings of a woman not writing for a purely male audience. Rich has gotten away with expressing these ideas because she wrote using the strategy of formalism that inevitably allowed her writing to sound the same as traditional male writing.

"I wanted women poets to be equals of men, and to be equal was still confused with sounding the same" (632).

What does she intend to illustrate? How does the poem illustrate this point/s?

I believe she meant to illustrate a narrative of a woman, Aunt Jennifer, under the oppression of a male. This is illustrated in the 2nd stanza when Rich describes Aunt Jennifer's hand as being too heavy to pull the needle through the wool because of the "massive weight of Uncle's wedding band" (7, 633). This "massive weight" is man's control over his wife and the wedding band is a symbol of his control. This idea is also supported in the third stanza when Rich describes Aunt Jennifer dead being still "ringed with the ordeals she was mastered by" (9-10, 633). Overall the poem illustrates oppression by stating in the first stanza what she really desires and then describing how she is oppressed and held back by the male in her life.


"For a poem to coalesce, for a character or an action to take shape, there has to be an imaginative transformation of reality which is no way passiveMoreover, if the imagination is to transcend and transform experience it has to question, to challenge, to conceive of alternatives, perhaps to the very life you are living at that moment. You have to be free to play around with the notion that day might be night, love might be hate, nothing can be too sacred for the imagination to turn into its opposite or to call experimentally by another name. For writing is renaming" (635).

How does the poem relate to the quotation at the top of the page?

The poem relates to the quote by transforming reality. She creates ... more

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alcoholism

What is Alcoholism?

The definition of alcoholism can be described as a chronic illness, which is marked by uncontrolled consumption of alcoholic beverages that interferes with physical or mental health, and social, family or occupational responsibilities.  This dependence on alcohol has only been diagnosed as a medical disorder recently in the medical field.  Like many other diseases, it has a predictable course and is influenced environmentally and sometimes genetically.  The disease can also be called progressive and fatal which means that the disease can persist over a long period of time, bodily changes progress as the drinking continues and can cause premature death through overdose, suicide, motor vehicle crashes and complications of the brain, liver, heart, and other organs.  Alcoholism can be detected by four basic symptoms, they are tolerance which is the increasing need to drink excessive amounts to feel its affects, also impaired control which is the problem of not being able to stop oneself from drinking at any given time.  Craving is another symptom characterized by a strong compulsion to drink, and the last one is physical dependence which shows withdrawal symptoms such as anxiety, sweating, nausea or shakiness.  Some other common minor symptoms would be solitary drinking, making excuses to drink, episodes of violence while under the influence, unexplained mood swings, neglect of physical appearance, and hostility when confronted about drinking.  Also, one can have what is called preoccupation of alcohol which means excessive focused attention given to the drug, its effects and its use.
Causes of Alcoholism
There is no definite cause of alcoholism, however, many factors can play a role in the development of the disorder. In a family with an alcoholic parent, a child is more likely to become an alcoholic than a child without an alcoholic parent.  Alcoholism can be inherited genetically from parent to child.  An alcoholic disorder can occur if one or both parents drank alcohol at the time of conception or the mother drank alcohol during pregnancy.  A women drinking during pregnancy can also cause several other complications besides a drinking disorder.  In a study done it concluded that if one person in a family was an alcoholic that nine out of ten times alcoholism will be reported in two or more family members.  Environmental causes can occur such as the influence of friends, the easy availability of alcohol, the social acceptance of alcohol and a life containing high stress levels.  Also alcoholism can occur when his or her parents did not teach or treat their child right causing frustration and anxiety to the child later in life.  Or the family teaches the child to drink such as if the father drinks then the child follows the example set by his father.  That child can learn from observation that alcohol may be used to cope with problems such as fatigue, stress and depression.  Also the values of a family can include the encouragement or acceptance of alcohol which both promote drinking. Psychological factors also include in this such as a need to be relieved of anxiety, conflicts within a relationship which are unsolved, or a low self-esteem.  
Phases of Alcoholism
There are four phases of alcoholism which take a period of five to seven years to develop.  Some of these stages can be skipped or not gone in the same order depending on the person.  The first stage is called the warning stage.  It happens when the user consumes alcohol as a form of relief for tension to make them feel better.  The person's drinking habits can increase from often to daily or regularly in which he or she will seek more reasons and occasions to drink.  Lastly during this stage a tolerance is built from the larger consumption of alcohol.  The second stage is dangerous to the person.  The drinker has larger quantities of alcohol to obtain relief.  More frequent and deeper intoxication are part of this phase.  Drinking alone, blackouts and gulping alcohol are symptoms to stage two.  The third stage of alcoholism is the most crucial phase of all.  The drinker loses all control of the amount of alcohol that was intended to be consumed.  Withdrawal from social environment, neglect of responsibility, and the hiding of alcohol occur during phase three. ... more

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