In this article, we have provided CBSE Class 12 NCERT Solutions for Chapter 6 from the Poetry Section of the English Flamingo Textbook. The NCERT solutions have been provided by the subject expert after a detailed analysis of the marking scheme and model answer sheet issued by CBSE. The poem Aunt Jennifer’s Tigers addresses the constraints of married life a woman experiences. Class 12th students can study the answers provided here to score well in school as well as Class 12th board exams.
NCERT Solutions for Class 12 English: Flamingo (Poetry) - Chapter 6: Aunt Jennifer’s Tigers
Ques: What does the title of the poem suggest to you? Are you reminded of other poems on tigers?
Answer: The title, "Aunt Jennifer's Tigers," indicates the poem is about the knitted tigers of Aunt Jennifer who, with their chivalric, vicious, bright, and carefree attitude, is becoming an alternate world of her own. The tigers are the only means of free speech in her life which is otherwise burdened with married life's worries and struggles.
There are many other poems written about tigers, some of which are given below.
“The Tiger” by William Blake
“Tiger” by Alec Derwent Hope
Ques: How do ‘denizens’ and ‘chivalric’ add to our understanding of the tiger’s attitudes?
Answer: Animals naturalized in a region are called denizens, or residents of a specific area. Since the tigers' natural habitat is forest, the poet rightly described it as 'denizens of a green world.' Tigers are masters of their own territory, in character.
The poet often refers to the "chivalric" tiger. The extraordinary heroic bravery which is called chivalry when facing danger. To justify this, the poet goes on to say that the tigers did not fear the people standing under a tree and went on with 'certainty' prancing. The poet has used the word 'chivalric' because tigers are courageous, vicious, and gallant creatures.
Ques: Why do you think Aunt Jennifer’s hands are ‘fluttering through her wool’ in the second stanza? Why is she finding the needle so hard to pull?
Answer: The hands of Aunt Jennifer 'flutter through her wool' because she is an old lady on whom age has taken her toll. Aunt Jennifer's finger fluttering often reflects her marginalized mental illness that makes it impossible for her to pull even an ivory needle when embroidering.
Ques: What is suggested by the image ‘massive weight of Uncle’s wedding band’?
Answer: The 'wedding party' the poet speaks about was Aunt Jennifer's wedding ring worn out. The picture 'Uncle's wedding band's huge weight' indicates she's been overburdened with duties and obligations, post her marriage.
Ques: Of what or of whom is Aunt Jennifer terrified with in the third stanza?
Answer: Aunt Jennifer is undoubtedly horrified at her chauvinist husband's oppression. She lives her life at the relentless burden of a married lady's roles and obligations. Also after her death, the picture of the wedding ring shows that there is no escape at all from her marriage rules and that she had to surrender to them.
Ques: What are the ‘ordeals’ Aunt Jennifer is surrounded by? Why is it significant that the poet uses the word ‘ringed’? What are the meanings of the word ‘ringed’ in the poem?
Answer: Aunt Jennifer has lived her life according to the rules her husband has set down. Her life is lacking voice, and the pressures and responsibilities of her married life are overburdened. Though old and frail, her husband still has to face oppression. Those are the ordeals the poet is talking about.
In the poem, the use of the word 'ringed' is significant and fitting as it accurately reflects the vicious cycle from which Aunt Jennifer cannot free herself. The term 'ringed' not only means that she is wearing her wedding ring, but also that she is bound for life and, probably, after it, by the obligations, anxiety and humiliation of her marriage.
Ques: Why do you think Aunt Jennifer created animals that are so different from her own character? What might the poet be suggesting, through this difference?
Answer: In creating animals that are different from her own character, Aunt Jennifer finds a way of living an alternative existence that she is denied: an existence that is proud, free, courageous, and self-confident. The tigers signify her desire for strength, liberty, and fearless life.
By this difference, the poet may indicate the patriarchal society's prejudices which are unfair to women, particularly the married ones.
Ques: Do you sympathise with Aunt Jennifer? What is the attitude of the speaker towards Aunt Jennifer?
Answer: Yeah, Aunt Jennifer's character is earning our reader sympathy. The reader travels through her ordeals and sufferings. In the poem even the speaker displays concern and compassion for her. The speaker says she will be frightened by her husband and the ordeals of her marriage even after Aunt Jennifer's death.