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The Death Of The Ball Turret Gunner

786 words - 4 pages

In the first line of the “The Death of the Ball Turret Gunner” Jarrell states, “When I died they washed me out of the turret with a hose”(5). Jarrell does not elaborate; he makes it very clear that war is gruesome. However, the literary techniques used in the other four lines of “Death of the Ball Turret Gunner” give this theme even deeper meaning and make his point so effective. Jarrell criticizes the government for its insensitivity toward the fate if its solders. Jarrell does mention how scared the gunner is, or call out the government for the brutalities and terrors the gunner has witnessed and experienced; he simply states the events that occurred, allowing the reader to make these ...view middle of the document...

But Jarrell does not fully mention that the gunner is overwhelmed by fear, he lets the reader speculate this from the terrifying images he provides.
Jarrell also uses vagueness to give the reader additional information from what is written. There are two key vague words that enable Jarrell to get his point across: “fell” (1) and “State” (1). “Fell” in this sense can refer to both being put into an unfamiliar situation and to a fall from innocence. In the first case, the gunner “fell” into the war without truly knowing what the implications of war are. In the second case, the gunner “fell” from the innocence of his childhood, the warmth and protection, to the very gruesome reality of war. In both examples, it exhibits again the difference between the gunner’s previous experiences and his current situation. The word “State”(1) also effectively helps the author convey his message. The word “State”, can be defined in the dictionary as many different things. It can man a territorial boundary, status, condition of mind, and health condition. In this poem, all definitions of the word are can be used. The two that are most important are the “emotional condition” and the “ruling government” definitions. The author’s overall message in the short poem is that the government is the cause of war. They start the war, and show no remorse...

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