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    Benjamin Linus's last comments on poems and poets

    • POEM: Aunt Jennifer's Tigers by Adrienne Rich (4/11/2010 9:58:00 PM)

      Aunt Jennifer's life is clearly an unfavourable one: the ring sits heavily upon her hand, suggesting that her marriage isn't happy. In the last stanza, the poem says that 'When Aunt is dead, her terrified hands will lie / Still ringed with ordeals that she was mastered by' (lines 9 and 10) . I also think that the word 'lie' is suggestive of more than one interpretation. The hands will lay on her chest, clasped together, and they will appear fine. But, in this respect, they are also lying to pretend that everything is alright. The fact that her hands are ringed with these ordeals-not plagued or suffered, but 'ring'ed-also suggests that her marriage is an unhappy one. She's living in an androcentric world; men are the center of attention and the important decision makers.

      As for the tigers that she knits into her panel, I believe they represent power, might, and freedom. From her feminine perspective-a perspective that is undoubtedly kept within her soul because of her oppression-they represent a future that she wishes for; one that is filled with 'sleek chivalric certainty' (line 4) and one where she can 'pranc[e], proud and unafraid' (line 12) . To answer your question, no, they are not live tigers.