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Last Name 1 Student Name Professor Geerling ENC 1102 28/9/14 The Relationship of The Death of the Ball Turret Gunner and Iron In five short lines, Randall Jarrell’s “The Death of the Ball Turret Gunner” tells the story of a young man swept from the innocence of a life during peacetime to his abrupt death sometime during the Second World War. An apt comparison exists with the song “Iron” by French singer-songwriter Yoann Lemoine, also known as Woodkid, which tells of another man’s experience during an unnamed war. It is important to note the distinction between the absoluteness of death in Jarrell’s work, and its more ambiguous nature within “Iron”. Though each deals with the horror of war, both ultimately differ in the fate of their protagonist. While the poem describes the physical death of the gunner, the song describes an emotional death as a result of the horrors of war upon the psyche. From the first lines of each work the reader is introduced to the men and their wars though the politics, motivations, and even the names of the respective wars are left unstated. It is as if Jarrell and Lemoine’s characters are saying “It doesn’t matter where or why we are, only that we are.” a sentiment not uncommon in war. “From my mother's sleep I fell into the State, / And I hunched in its belly till my wet fur froze.”(1-2) are where the reader is first introduced to Jarrell’s airman and his predicament. “Falling into the State” in this case refers to him falling into his military service, while the mention of his mother either serves to indicate his young age or simply evokes maternal imagery to remind the reader of the innocence of youth, regardless as to how old the airman actually is. While, the opening lines of “Iron”: “Deep in the ocean, dead and
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Last Name 2 cast away. / Where innocence is burned, in flames” (1-2) follows a similar pattern. In “Iron” the soldier is lost in the metaphorical “ocean” of confusion that war entails, he has fallen into it, much like the airman falling into the state. His innocence is lost in the fire of combat, “in flames”. Similarly, and unfortunately for the airman, going down “in flames” was a common fate
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  • Fall '08
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  • World War II, Randall Jarrell, English Essay Example

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