Adrienne Rich’s Poetry Communicates Powerful Feelings Through Thought Provoking Images and Symbols

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2012 Higher Level Exam Question :Adrienne Rich’s poetry communicates powerful feelings through thought provoking images and symbols.

The poetry of Adrienne Rich is indeed communicating powerful feelings such as regret , sadness, fear, desire, desperation ,despair ,constriction , oppression, loneliness, hope and many others. She is challenging us ,the readers using thought provoking images and symbols all throughout her poems ,I will mainly focus on: ‘Aunt Jennifer’s Tigers’, ‘The Roofwalker’,’ Trying to talk with a man’ and lastly ‘From a survivor’. Aunt Jennifer’s Tigers that does not represent Rich herself as she wrote it as a young woman, but it does represent women at that time. In this poem Rich presents us with the ‘typical marriage’ at that time where women felt constricted by their marriage and felt it was a burden weighing them down ‘The massive weight of Uncle’s wedding band/Sits heavily upon Aunt Jennifer’s hand.’ Aunt Jennifer was feeling oppressed and afraid ,’her terrified hands’ because her husband was the one who had power over her and the one who made the important decisions making Aunt Jennifer feel insignificant ‘Still ringed with the ordeals she was mastered by.’ Yet the tigers she created have no fear of the human beings and perhaps this was Aunt Jennifer’s desire ,not to fear ‘the men beneath the tree.’ Rich I believe choose the tigers as the symbol of power and freedom to especially show what Aunt Jennifer was thinking deep within and the contrast between Aunt Jennifer and her creation ,the tigers. I believe there is a hope and a wish that the way women are seen will change for future generation ,this is shown at the end of the poem ‘The tigers in the panel that she made/ Will go on prancing ,proud and unafraid.’ In this poem Rich makes efficient use of imagery throughout the poem but also of symbolism. She created a memorable image of the tigers using strong colours such as the ‘Bright topaz’ , ‘world of green’ this is making...
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