Feminism Through Adrienne Rich Essay

954 words - 4 pages

Feminism Through Adrienne RichIn a time when women were to be seen and not heard, Adrienne Rich wrote about feminism and female strength. She was married and a closet lesbian but found courage in her poetry. "Aunt Jennifer's Tigers" and "Diving into the Wreck" both talk about feminism and the struggle of everyday life for women. In her earlier poems she disguises her views of feminism by talking about things that have nothing to do with it. She was married when she wrote her first "Aunt Jennifer's Tigers" and used Aunt Jennifer in the third person as her oppressed woman. In "Diving into the Wreck," however, she is not married and is no longer hiding her homosexuality. She talks as though she is the one going to the wreck finding the truth for herself and encouraging others to do the same for themselves."Aunt Jennifer's Tigers" is a poem about a woman knitting a quilt or some type of blanket. On the blanket, the tigers that she is creating represent women in society who are not afraid of men and who are breaking out of the roles that men have placed upon them. She says that the tigers "pace in sleek chivalric certainty" (ln. 4). She views these women as sort of saviors for the women who are afraid or don't have the strength to leave the roles placed before them. In the second stanza, Rich says that "even the ivory needle is hard to pull" (ln.6). The ivory needle represents the everyday chores that define the female role being tedious and tiresome. "The massive weight of Uncle's wedding band" sitting upon her hand shows the oppressiveness of marriages (ln.7-8). Women are supposed to get married and conform to the roles and expectations that their own husbands put upon them. She goes on to say that even when Aunt Jennifer is dead she will still bear the ring that has held her down and oppressed for so long. The tigers that she is creating with forever go on dancing without fear of men, "immortalizing the hand that made them, despite the contrary force of the oppressive structure of Aunt Jennifer's conventional marriage, as signified by the ring that binds her to her husband" (Byars).Rich was married when she wrote this poem and she used "Aunt Jennifer" to express her own feelings whereas in "Diving into the Wreck" she spoke in the first person. Adrienne Rich was no longer married when she wrote this poem and was not hiding her sexuality anymore. This poem is straight forward about the true meaning behind the words. The wreck that she is diving into is the patriarchal history. She starts by telling us about her preparations for the...

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