Yale University

"The Death of the Ball Turret Gunner" by Randell Jarrell

In reference to this poem, Randall Jerrell write that the gunner who sat hunched up and revolved with the turret, looked like a fetus in the womb. With this image in mind, they to interpret the first four lines of this poem.

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The poem is really inventive because the speaker is already dead. That sets the tone of the imagery through the poem. There is a constant fear of death, even within the birth imagery of the poem. The idea that birth and death are connected within the context of war is important. The “wet fur” represents the inside of the gunner’s jacket but also represents the lining of his mother's womb. He nestles in a mechanical womb and ” never awoke to life. " After the “black flak and the nightmare fighters", the speaker dies: he is still born and must be aborted with a hose.