Figure of Speech in Aunt Jennifer’s Tigers Class 12 Flamingo In-Depth Analysis | Figures of Language

By | January 23, 2024
Figure of Speech in Aunt Jennifer’s Tigers

The poem depicts:

  1. Aunt Jennifer’s desires and her dream.
  2. The real picture of Aunt Jennifer’s life.

Symbols in the poem

  1. Aunt Jennifer represents women all over the world wedged under the tyrannical hand of a patriarchal society.
  2. Aunt Jennifer’s tigers symbolize her dreams and desires of being powerful, fearless, decisive and liberated.
  3. The wedding band signifies the patriarchal society where the command is defined as masculine.
  4. Uncle denotes the oppressor.
  5. Aunt Jennifer’s hands represent the reality of her life.

1. What words help us to understand the tiger’s attitude?

(i) pace and prance suggest strength and energy, and movement in blithe.
(ii) bright topaz colour gives the Tigers the attention to their prominent presence.
(iii) denizens mean occupants. Tigers are grand and fearless in their natural surroundings.
(iv) chivalric certainty represents the power and virtue with confidence and conviction.

2.Justification of the title: Aunt Jennifer is weaving a tapestry with a picture of tigers representing her desire— she pines for the qualities she has endowed to these tigers.

3.The contrast in the poem:
Aunt Jennifer is an oppressed woman dominated by male superiority, victimized, fearful, indecisive, weak, timid, feeble, shivering in fear, stifled and weighed upon by the marriage, whereas the tigers she weaves are chivalric, confident, fearless, assertive, strong and energetic.

4. Poetic devices used in the poem:
(i) Symbols: (a) Uncle, (b) Aunt, (c) Tigers, (d) Wedding band, (e) Aunt Jennifer’s hand.
 (ii) Synecdoche and transferred epithet—terrified hands’ representing her being terrified.
(iii) Pun— ‘ringed’: (a) ring in her finger which sits heavily on her and (b) difficulties which will always surround her.
 (iv) Irony—(a) a weak and submissive woman weaving a picture of tigers that are strong and fearless.
(b) brutal tigers are depicted chivalric and the cultured man is depicted as an oppressor.
(c) Even when the creator dies, her work will continue to exist.
(v) Contrast—the characteristics of Aunt Jennifer and that of the tiger.
 (vi) Alliteration—`fingers fluttering’
(vii) Imageries—’bright topaz denizens in the world of green’, ‘men beneath the ` band/Sits heavily..

5. The future of Aunt Jennifer Being: subservient Aunt Jennifer doesn’t win. First, she loses her identity, (only termed as ‘Aunt’ in the last stanza) and then loses herself to death, and even in death, she must obey the rules of the patriarchal society.

6. Why will Aunt Jennifer’s hands be ringed with ordeals after her death?
 Aunt Jennifer represents the oppressed women of the patriarchal society. It connotes that
(i)Aunt is troubled by her marriage to the burdensome husband.
(ii) With the death of one oppressed woman, oppression will not vanish from the face of this earth.

7.The significance of the last two lines of the poem
(i) The mortal Aunt Jennifer created the immortal tigers.
 (ii) Even if the woman with the desire, dies, it does not end the desire of freedom in the other women in this patriarchal society—the poet imparts a ray of hope to liberate women from the bondage of the oppressed men.

Literary Device of Aunt Jennifer’s Tigers


Wedding band: a symbol of oppression in an unhappy marriage. Its weight refers to the burden of gender expectations. Ringed means encircled or trapped, losing individuality and freedom.
Aunt Jennifer: a typical victim of male oppression in an unhappy marriage, who suffers a loss of individuality, dignity and personal freedom silently. She becomes dependent, fearful and frail.
Tigers: symbolize untamed free spirit. Here they stand in contrast to their creator’s personality. The use of colours implies that Aunt Jennifer’s tigers and their land are vital and they enjoy a sense of freedom far greater than she does. They pace and prance freely, proudly, fearless, confident and majestic, fearless of men Yellow (bright topaz) connotes the sun and fierce energy; green reminds one of spring and vitality.
Embroidery: a symbol of creative expression. The artwork expresses the Aunt’s suppressed desires and becomes her escape from the oppressive reality of her life.
Aunt (last stanza): the use of the word Aunt as opposed to Aunt Jennifer. It shows that she has lost her identity completely, thus lost even her name.
Ringed with ordeals: even death would not free her as the wedding band, a symbol of oppression, would still be on her finger.
 Visual imagery: Bright topaz denizens; the world of green
Irony: It is ironical that Aunt Jennifer’s creations- the tigers will continue to pace and prance freely, while Aunt herself will remain terrified even after death, ringed by the ordeals she was controlled by in her married life.
 Ringed with ordeals: even death would not free her as the wedding band, a symbol of oppression, will be there.
 Terrified fingers: a Transferred epithet

Alliteration: “fingers fluttering”, “Prancing proud”
Hyperbole: The weight of a husband’s wedding ring.
Paradox: Aunt Jennifer, a trembling and ‘mastered’ woman creates free and confident tigers. Fingers fluttering produce tigers who prance with ‘certainty’.