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Adrienne Rich, Leaving Cert Complete Poetry Notes

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Table of Contents

Summary 5

Annotation 6

Uncle Speaks in the Drawing Room 7

Summary 8

Annotation 9

Summary 12

Annotation 13

Storm Warnings 15

Summary 16

Annotation 17

Summary 20

Annotation 21

Summary 24

Annotation 25

Our Whole Life 27

Summary 28

Annotation 29

Trying to Talk with a Man 30

Summary 31

Annotation 32

Summary 37

Annotation 38

From a Survivor 42

Summary 43

Annotation 44

Sample Answers 46

Reading Adrienne Rich’s poetry: Questions of Feminism and Gender 46

Important themes in Rich’s poetry 49

‘Adrienne Rich’s poetry shows us the relationships between men and women in all their glory and despair.’ 52

With reference to the above, discuss whether Rich’s poetry appealed to you. 52

Adrienne Rich’s poetry is interesting both for its themes and language-use. Discuss. 54

Aunt Jennifer’s Tigers

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.

Aunt Jennifer's finger fluttering through her wool
Find even the ivory needle hard to pull.
The massive weight of Uncle's wedding band
Sits heavily upon Aunt Jennifer's hand.

When Aunt is dead, her terrified hands will lie
Still ringed with ordeals she was mastered by.
The tigers in the panel that she made
Will go on prancing, proud and unafraid.


The speaker tells us about her Aunt Jennifer's needlework tapestry, which features beautiful, bright tigers prancing. The tigers are strong and have no fears; Aunt Jennifer, though, is not so free. The speaker tells us about the metaphorical weight of Aunt Jennifer's wedding band, and implies that her marriage was unhappy and held her back from the life that she wanted to live.

The speaker then tells us that, when Aunt Jennifer is dead, she will still wear the ring that symbolizes the marriage that trapped her. But, the speaker says, the tigers will keep prancing in her needlework, and Aunt Jennifer will be immo...

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