Adrienne Rich was born in Baltimore Maryland to parents who were adamant about the arts and Rich's involvement. With the urging of her father Rich excelled academically and eventually attended Radcliffe College. It was in her last year, at the age of 21; Rich published her first work, A Change of World (1951). For this work Rich received the Yale Series of Younger Poets award, setting off her career as a poet and essayist.
In Rich’s first work, A Change of World, there is preface which gives a glimpse into the type of poet Rich will become. One poem in particular, “Aunt Jennifer’s Tigers”, Rich shows her disgusted reaction to the impression she gets from the restraining bonds of marriage. She illustrates this detest in the line, “The massive weight of Uncle’s wedding band” (7). The ring that her aunt wears is an immense weight that restricts her aunt. Similarly, Rich suggests that the ring also represents the controlling nature of marriage when she writes, “Still ringed with ordeals she was mastered by” (10). Rich suggests that through the experiences of marriage her aunt was restrained. This cynical perception of marriage is only a prelude to the work that Rich will produce later in her career when she advocates for feminism.
Rich, Adrienne Cecile. “Aunt Jennifer’s Tigers.” A Change of World. Yale University Press, 1951.