The Death of the Ball Turret Gunner

4 April 2015
The paper analyzes the poem “The Death of the Ball Turrett Gunner” by American poet Randall Jarrell.

An analysis of the poem “The Death of the Ball Turrett Gunner” by Randall Jarrell about a plane gunner and his death in battle. The paper covers areas such as denotation and connotation, imagery, literary techniques, symbols, irony and tone of the poem.
“Flak,” “nightmare” and “woke” are words especially well chosen. Flak in the poem refers to flak from machine-gun fire but the word flak also has a second meaning of criticism. This double meaning implies that he is disliked with the actual flak a product of this dislike. Jarrell then describes the fighters shooting at the gunner as “nightmare fighters.” The word nightmare on one level means terrible but on another links to the feeling of the complete terror in a nightmare. This double meaning gives an insight into the gunner’s fear. The word woke also has important connotations. While the denotation to wake is important, it also implies a greater significance in the connotation meaning becoming aware of. The woke then means not only that he woke up but also that he realized something.”

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