What makes Aunt Jennifer's character tragic and pathetic? What does Aunt Jennifer's death signify?
Who do you think is the speaker of the poem? What gives you that idea?
The point of dispute in this poem concerns the constraints of married life and the trials and tribulations a woman has to face by virtue of her marriage. The massive weight of the wedding ring and the toil of married life sits heavily on a woman because she seems to be tied to her husband mentally. Her life is not her own, she becomes known as someone's wife or mother. It is her independent identity as a woman which is at stake. Aunt Jennifer's character brings out the pathos of her situation, she is a woman who has lost her identity as an independent woman due to her marriage. She was a married woman first and foremost. Aunt Jennifer's death signifies that she can only attain freedom in death because as long as she lives she will continue to have her identity subservient to that of her husband.
The speaker in the poem seems to be a female cousin of Aunt Jennifer because the person refers to her as aunt. The speaker seems to be quite sensitive to the situation that her aunt is in which leads me to draw the conclusion she is also a woman who understands that her identity of a woman is important to her and cannot be subsumed to anyone else's identity, not even that of her husband's.