Words Meaning, Summary, Important Questions, Of Chapter 6 Aunt Jennifer’s Tigers | Class 12

Chapter 4 A Thing of Beauty

Hindi Meaning Of Difficult Words | Aunt Jennifer’s Tigers

S.No.WordMeaningsMeanings (in hindi)Synonyms
1PranceWalk or run energeticallyउछल-कूद bounce off, frisk, pulsate
2TopazA gem of yellow colourपीले रंग का एक रत्न………….
3DenizensResident, Inhabitantनिवासीoccupant, population
4BeneathUnderनीचेdown, below
5PaceMoveचालgait, ploy, movement
6SleekSlender, Gentleसज्जनnoble, gently born
7ChivalricPolite and kind behaviourशिष्टताgentleness
9IvoryColour similar to whiteहाथी दांतcream-colored, off-white
10HardDifficultकठिन arduous, uphill, stiff
11Wedding Bandweddding ringशादी का बैंड
12Sits heavilyGreat burdenबोझ उठानाload, cargo
13TerrifiedFrightenedभयाकुलscared, horrified
15Mastered byUsed toद्वारा हस्तमैथुन किया गयाfamiliar with, habituated

About The Poet | Adrienne Rich | Aunt Jennifer’s Tigers

Adrienne Rich (May 16, 1929 – March 27, 2012) was an American poet, essayist and radical feminist. She was called as one of the most widely read and influential poets of the second half of the 20th century and was credited with bringing the oppression of women to the forefront of poetic discourse.

Short Summary Of Aunt Jennifer’s Tigers In English

The poet starts with Aunt Jennifer’s visual tapestry of tigers who are fearless animals and they stay valiant in their environment. They are vibrant, colored living in rich green environment. These tigers are living life with majesty as one would expect the tigers from the forests. There is a certainty and confidence in the way these tigers move.

But Aunt Jennifer is weak, feeble and captivated in contrast to the tigers she was knitting. She is suffering from physical and mental trauma. When Aunt Jennifer says that she finds the ivory needle hard to pull she tricks to reveal that she is facing hardship and trouble in her life. Her life has been tiring and hurtful and that her unhappy married life is overbearing and demanding. She even feels that the ring on her finger is a burdensome weight, which denotes that her husband is making her life miserable. She feels that her inner soul has been prisoned by the patriarchal society.

The poet in the last stanza brings in the contrasting picture. When she would die her hands will still reflect the terrors she lived in her life. Throughout her lifetime she suffered. But at the same time her tigers will remain the same courageous, fearless, free which would just be in contrast to the life she lived. They will hold the fort as the reflecting force against the male dominated society.

Important Previous Year Questions From Aunt Jennifer’s Tigers

SAI (2 marks)

  1. What are the difficulties that Aunt Jennifer faced in her life? (Delhi 2014)
  2. How are Aunt Jennifer’s tigers different from her? (AI 2014)
  3. How does Aunt Jennifer express her bitterness and anger against male dominance? (Delhi 2014 C)
  4. What will happen to Aunt Jennifer’s tigers when she is dead? (Delhi 2013)
  5. What lies heavily on Aunt Jennifer’s hand? How is it associated with her husband? (AI 2013)
  6. Why did Aunt Jennifer choose to embroider tigers on the panel ? (Delhi 2012)
  7. How do the words, ‘denizens’ and ‘chivalric’ add to our understanding of Aunt Jennifer’s tigers? (AI 2012)
  8. Why do you think Aunt Jennifer created animals that are so different from her own character? (AI 2011)

SA II (3 marks)

  1. How do symbols in the poem, ‘Aunt Jennifer’s Tigers’ help us understand her plight? (AI 2019)
  2. Aunt Jennifer’s efforts to get rid of her fear proved to be futile. Comment. (Delhi 2016)
  3. What picture of male chauvinism (tyranny) do we find in the poem, ‘Aunt Jennifer’s Tigers’? (AI 2016)
  4. How does the poet show the futility of Aunt Jennifer’s efforts ? (Foreign 2016)
  5. What is suggested by the phrase, ‘ weight of uncle’s wedding band’? (Delhi 2015)
  6. Why does Aunt Jennifer create animals that are so different from her own character? (Delhi 2015)
  7. What will happen when Aunt Jennifer is dead? (Foreign 2015)
  8. How is Aunt Jennifer different from her tigers? (Foreign 2015)
  9. For Aunt Jennifer, what do the tigers symbolise? (Foreign 2015)

SA III (4 marks)

Read the lines given below and answer the questions that follow:

  1. 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) Why are the tigers called Aunt Jennifer’s tigers ?

(b) How are they described here?

(c) How are they different from Aunt Jennifer? (d) What does the word, ‘chivalric’ mean? (Delhi 2017)

  1. 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) Why are the tigers called ‘ tigers’? Aunt Jennifer’s

(b) What does the phrase, ‘a world of green’ mean?

(c) How are the tigers different from their creator?

(d) Why are the tigers not afraid of the men beneath the trees? (Delhi 2015 C)

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Answer Of Aunt Jennifer’s Tigers For The Above Questions

  1. Aunt Jennifer lived her life in accordance with the rules laid down by her domineering husband. Her life was overburdened by the demands and duties of her married life and the patriarchal society. It lacked self-expression. Although old and weak, she had to face the ordeals of her oppressive marriage all her life, there was no escape from her husband.
  2. Unlike Aunt Jennifer, who feels trapped in a loveless and unhappy marriage, who is terrified of her domineering husband and the patriarchal society, her tigers prance around freely, full of confidence, fearless of the men watching them. The tigers seem to possess all the qualities, which Aunt Jennifer does not.
  3. Aunt Jennifer expresses her bitterness and anger against male dominance through her art; by knitting tigers on the panel which symbolize freedom, strength and chivalry.
  4. Unlike Aunt Jennifer, her tigers are free from inhibitions. They are liberated and fear no one. After her death, while Aunt Jennifer will continue to be ‘ weighed’ down by the constraints of her marriage, her tigers will go on prancing confidently and unafraid.
  5. Aunt Jennifer’s wedding band sits heavily on her hand. The weighty wedding band is symbol of all the constraints of married life Aunt Jennifer has had faced being married to a domineering husband.
  6. Aunt Jennifer chose to embroider tigers on the panel because secretly, she wanted to be like the tigers-fearless, proud, unafraid and liberated.
  7. ‘Denizens’ and ‘Chivalric’ describe Aunt Jennifer’s tigers as bold and fearless tigers, who prance around confidently in their natural habitat. Sleek and gallant in their movements, the tigers are certain of themselves.
  8. “Aunt Jennifer’s tigers prance across a screen, .. They do not fear the men beneath the tree; they pace in sleek chivalric certainty.” The tigers are so different from Aunt’s own character because they are an expression of her hidden desires. Through them, Aunt Jennifer communicates her unfulfilled wishes.
  9. The plight of Aunt Jennifer is constantly emphasized by the use of various symbols in the poem. The massive weight of Uncle’s wedding band symbolizes the oppression she faced in her marriage. The image of tigers provides a contrast with Aunt’s character who is timid, oppressed and victimized in her life. Aunt Jennifer tries to vent out her feelings by creating such majestic and fearless tigers.
  10. Aunt Jennifer is an obedient wife, often dominated by her husband. Her efforts to get rid of her fear of an unhappy and terrifying marriage proves to be futile because she would have to wear the ‘weighty’ wedding ring, which has made her feel trapped all her life, even when she is dead. In other words, there is no escaping the male dominated society or the ordeals of tyrannous marriage for Aunt Jennifer, even after death.
  11. The poem, ‘ Aunt Jennifer’s Tigers, shows constraints of married life every woman experiences. It shows lack of freedom for Aunt Jennifer, who is forced to live in accordance with rules laid down by her husband. Uncle’s wedding band, which sits ‘ heavily’ upon Aunt Jennifer’s finger, symbolizes oppressive behavior of the patriarchal society. Aunt Jennifer feels that she would escape the ordeals of her tyrannous marriage once she is dead. However, such a thought is futile because the patriarchal society would not permit her to take off the wedding band even after death. Therefore, it is suffice to say that she is a victim of male chauvinism.
  12. The poet shows the futility of Aunt Jennifer’s efforts by pointing towards her fluttering fingers, which find the ivory needle hard to pull. During her death, she would have to continue to wear her wedding band.
  13. The phrase ‘ massive weight of uncle’s wedding band’ refers to the burden of an oppressive marriage in which Aunt Jennifer was trapped. The wedding band is also symbol of bondage; Aunt is bound to her dominating husband by marriage because of her wedding vows. She can’t escape this male dominated society even after she is dead. As a dutiful wife, she must continue to be devoted to her husband.
  14. Refer to answer 8.
  15. When Aunt Jennifer is dead, she will continue to suffer because she will not be free from her marital bondage. But, her struggle for freedom will continue through the prancing tigers on the panel.
  16. Aunt Jennifer is scared, oppressed and has no freedom in her married life because of her husband’s authority. There is a stark contrast between her and the tigers’ nature. The tigers are free and fearless in the presence of men; they prance around with confidence.
  17. Aunt Jennifer, lived an unhappy life in Constant fear of her authoritative husband and the East that she would never be freed not even after her death. Therefore, for her, the tigers symbolized fearlessness, confidence and freedom, something she lacked but hoped to possess.
  18. (a) The tigers are called Aunt Jennifer’s tigers because she embroidered them herself.
  19. (b) The tigers are described as bright topaz denizens of the world of green, who prance around fearlessly and with sleek, chivalric certainty.
  20. (c) The tigers are different from Aunt Jennifer because unlike her, they do not fear the men. The tigers prance with a certainty in their presence.
  21. (d) ‘Chivalric’ means polite and kind behavior that shows a sense of honor, specially towards women.
  22. (a) The tigers are called ‘ Aunt Jennifer’s tigers’ because they are her creation. Aunt Jennifer embroidered the tigers on a screen.
  23. (b) A world of green’ means green forest, the natural habitat of the tigers. (c) Unlike Aunt Jennifer, the tigers are fearless, confident and free.
  24. (d) The tigers are denizens of a world of green. They are wild beasts. Therefore, they do not fear the men beneath the trees.



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