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Feminism Versus Society In Adrienne Rich's Poem Aunt Jennifer's Tigers And Tillie Olson's Poem, I Stand Here Ironing

873 words - 4 pages

The theme of femininity is shown in great respects, in Adrienne Rich's poem "Aunt Jennifer's Tigers". Rich's poem holds a similar theme to Tillie Olson's "I stand here Ironing". These two writings both represent how society was critical on woman's roles. Although they are both based on the same societal theme, Rich's poem has a much stronger impact on its readers. Rich's poem is easier to relate to because it explains the struggle of women and the want for success and freedom. Rich explains the "weight" of Aunt Jennifer's wedding ring, which represents her bad marriage. This is easier for readers to relate to because it is a common problem in society. Women are often thought of as lower and weaker than men and Rich represents this in many forms. Aunt Jennifer's wedding band is "heavy" on her hand, which holds her back from being able to do her craft. This was represented by showing how men often held women back from showing their talents. Olson's poem also represents a lack of feminism, but it is based in the older days and takes a different path. Olson's poem represents a man's ability to leave the women and children to fend for herself. This is harder for readers to understand because there could be a lot of criticism about why the man left and how the wife could have better taken care of her family. Olson's poem not only shows the weakness of the mother but also shows the effect on her daughter.

Rich's poem is stronger because it better criticized how society viewed women, though Olson and Rich both used a similar approach to representing the expected role of women. In Rich's poem, Aunt Jennifer is sewing, and in Olson's poem the mother is ironing. Both authors took this approach because they wanted to show what society expected of women in their household. By having these women doing these two crafts, the authors were able to represent the expected roles of women. Society expected women to follow their roles and be housewives, however, when a woman was left by her husband she was required to do it all without any problem. Society has a twisted view of women and their abilities. Women were expected to stay home and do household chores, represented in Rich's poem. They were not supposed to work in a "mans" field. On the other hand Olson represented how society expected women to have the ability to take care of their family and the house and find some way to be a breadwinner when they were...

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