Death of the ball turret gunner
The Death of the Ball Turret Gunner is a short poem written by the American writer Randall Jarell. The poem, published in 1945 is dedicated to all the soldiers who fought during the Second World War in the famous ball turrets of American bombers. Even if it’s only five lines long, this poem has a strong message to deliver. It shows us the difficulties of those having to be a ball turret gunner.
Instead of having multiple figures of speech, practically the whole poem is one. Almost everything is a sort of moral paradox. For example the narrator ends with: “When I died they washed me out of the turret with a hose.” Water is usually a source of life. In this case though, it is portrayed as a means of rejection. Also he says that death comes six miles above earth “Six miles from earth” as opposed to the conventional six feet under. We can also say that the hose they use to eject him out of the ball is the opposite of an umbilical cord. Instead of giving him life and security, it brings him death and rejection. The phrase: “And I hunched in its belly till my wet fur froze.” shows us the hard conditions of high altitude fighting, the “wet fur” meaning his pilot jacket.
In conclusion, I think that the poem “The Death of the Ball Turret Gunner” really wants to show us how difficult was for these men to do their job. We can see the hard conditions they worked in and the sacrifices they