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The Death of the Ball Turret Gunner

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catarina chen

on 26 February 2015

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Transcript of The Death of the Ball Turret Gunner

From
m
y
m
other’s
sleep
I
fell
into the
State
,

And I
hunched
in its belly till my
wet fur froze
.

Six miles from earth, loosed from its
dream
of life,

I woke to black flak and the
nightmare
fighters.

When I died they washed me out of the turret with a hose.

Randall Jarrell (1945)
by Teresa Dai, Catarina Chen and Roger Hao
The Death of the Ball Turret Gunner

"The Death of the Ball Turret Gunner." Poets.org. Academy of American Poets. Web. 11 Feb. 2015. <http://www.poets.org/poetsorg/poem/death-ball-turret-gunner>.

The Death of the Ball Turret Gunner
The word "State" represents the war and death.

The word "hunched" describes the position that the speaker was in. Just like a baby in a mother´s womb.
"My wet fur froze" this shows that the speaker was in a cold condition because of the altitude was high, but he was so nervous that it did not let him do stop sweating.

Line 3:
"Six miles" describes the distance between the earth and the heaven. When we look at the earth from a far distance, it´s peaceful, but we cannot see the inside. The peaceful life before the war to the speaker was just like a dream.
http://www.shmoop.com/death-ball-turret-gunner/lines-3-4-summary.html
Poem Context
The speaker of the poem
is the ball turret
gunner
which is the dead soldier.

The persona is from the point of view of one who was very
tired
of the war

in both
Physical
and
mental
.

He missed his
mother
when he was exhausted.

He
died
at the end, but
no one
cares about his death, because everyone wanted to win the war, if he died, another person would alternate him and continue the death.
Randall Jarrell
http://www.poets.org/poetsorg/poet/randall-jarrell
Randall Jarrell was born in 1914(WW1). From Vanderbilt University, he earned Bachelor´s and Master´s degrees. His first book of poems was published in 1942 called
Blood for a Stranger.
Then in the same year, he enlisted in the Army Air Corps, but he did not stay at the Air Corps for a long time, then he left to the control tower worked as an operator, this was an experience that provided much material for his poetry.

His second book
Little Friend
was published in 1945, in that year, his reputation was also established as a poet.
Following WW2, he was as a teacher at the Woman´s College of the University of North Carolina, he remained there until his death. He was highly regarded, not only as a poet, but also a peerless literary essayist.
He was dead at the age of fifty-one, in Oct 14 1965. He was killed in a car accident, which may have been a suicide.
Metaphor
Alliteration
Conclusion
Personal Response
The poem was written in 1945 which was the year before WWII (1939-1945).
The complexity of the poem is in the imagery and figurative language
By using the ball turret as a metaphorical womb
A small poem that deals with big issues like life's fragility, the death, the power, role of the state in our lives and the horrors of war.


Imagery - The peaceful life before the war was like a dream to him, when he woke up, he was in the terrible war.
Line 5:
For the last line, the author writes it straightforward, there´s a metaphor in the sentence."They washed me out of the turret with hose." is kind of like abortion. It doesn't show that it is an honor to fight in the war, because when the gunner died, no one felt sad about it, they just wash the turret like they are cleaning out the rubbish. In the mother´s womb, instead of born into a new life, the gunner born into death.
This poem describes the tragedy of a ball turret gunner, the position of him in the war and how he was killed. So the theme of this poem is:

1. To show the brutality and the horror of the war.
2. The poem is considering live and death, it was so easy to be died in the war and no one cares about it.
3. To show the innocence of the soldiers. They went to the war, some of them were because of nationalism, but most of them were forced to go to the war, they didn't even know why they were fighting in the war and died.
Randall's work was not only about the war.
He had also published children's books.
Worked as literary critic and essayist.

The Theme
A ball turret is a rotating ball with mounted machine guns located underneath the aircraft. The gunner sits inside the ball
Metaphor and Imagery
The speaker sees the turret as mother's womb
A strong image of him in his mother's womb
"fell" usually means bad thing, it makes the fear stronger
Nightmare
Throughout the whole poem, the author uses metaphor mainly to describe the condition during the war to a ball turret gunner. The author describes the "ball turret" like a mother´s womb, it makes the fear of death stronger, because a mother´s womb is a start of a new life, but in the poem, it is a start of death. We found out that in the poem, the gunner was kind of lost between death and live. This is an anti-war poem, it doesn't show any honor of going to the war, in opposite, the author is trying to say that it is not worth to die in the war, because nobody cares about it.
Strong rhythm
Oxymoron
- We feel sorry for the death of the gunner.

- The author uses this tragedy to show us how terrible the war was, not only the soldier but a lot of civilians.

Rhyme
The Death of the Ball Turret Gunner

From my mother’s sleep I fell into the
State
,

And I hunched in its belly till my wet fur froze.

Six miles from earth, loosed from its dream of life,

I woke to black flak and the nightmare fighters.

When I died they washed me out of the turret with a hose.

Randall Jarrell (1945)
Full transcript