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Comment 9 of 49, added on March 15th, 2006 at 3:48 PM.
Truly i am amazed to see these ridiculous references to abortion being
pulled from sucha simple and straightforward poem. In teose times, as a
previous commenter stated, Abortion was not even a practice in medicine,
let alone done unprofessianally in such a way. There may be metaphorical
references available now but in that time it was not possible to draw such
conclsions and anyone whom did could be simply summed up as ludicrously
misguided. I am not scholar btu even i am not so stupid as to make such
judgements on a poem wihtout thinking of the time in which it was
written... Adn in that time, no such things could be done, and in that
itme no such things were said...
Darkbeat from United States
Comment 8 of 49, added on February 9th, 2006 at 10:57 AM.
Jarrell's poem is about the pointless and inhumane waste of life that is
both abortion and war. He likens the belly of the plane to the womb of a
mother inorder to make the gunner seem like a child, which makes his death
that much more upsetting to the reader. He says "they washed me out with a
hose" because that is truly what they did. The hose here though, is
metaphorical and can be compared to a vaccum cleaner because back in 1945
when he wrote the poem, it wasn't uncommon for a young girl to perform her
own abortion with a wire coat hanger and a vaccum cleaner.
from United States
Comment 7 of 49, added on January 6th, 2006 at 7:49 PM.
Actually this poem being about abortion is abosolutely butkiss- this poem
focuses on one thing and that is that in war some people are more
expendable than others. Case in point, only the most inexperienced and
youthful troopers were given the job of being a ball turret gunner. Due to
the fact that they were smaller and easily replaced. This is what the poet
refers to when he speaks of "falling from the womb into the care of the
state." Not only was the poem written in a time when modern abortion was
not even in existence but a time of war- more importantly a time in which
the draft had been established. So look elsewhere for ridiculous ways to
tie abortion and the abhorance there of, because frankly trying to tie it
to this poem is just plain ridiculous.
from United States
Comment 6 of 49, added on December 26th, 2005 at 9:58 PM.
I went through that phase, it got me an A in college. In fact the 'serious'
reading of personal meanings into poetry seems only a display of
uncuriosity. It gives endless opportunities for writing 'criticism' without
actually understanding things. Also it shields poets against having to do
good work, and lets them write nonsense verse without being honest about
it. (Nonsense verse as such is something I like.)
Any association of the death of the ball turret gunner with abortion
politics is a closure of the 'mind' to the actual subject. Ball turret
gunners were _real_ people who _really did_ get killed and _really did_
have to be cleaned out with an air hose, because they _really were_ turned
into goo. So what if there is some superficial resemblance in someone's
'mind' to abortion? I mean that: So what? This is a poem about a ball
turret gunner, written as if from the point of view of that gunner, in
other words the writer imagines it his himself.
Bojo from United States
Comment 5 of 49, added on December 7th, 2005 at 7:12 PM.
THANK YOU! abortion only became an issue when everything had to be
"politically correct". Jarrell is just simply describing what could go
through a ball turret gunner's mind when he gets into the heat of battle.
that is ALL!
Bill from United States
Comment 4 of 49, added on December 5th, 2005 at 8:25 PM.
This poem is not about reproductive rights. It rings true but remember
that this poem was written in 1945, decades before abortion became an
Kenneth from United States
Comment 3 of 49, added on September 19th, 2005 at 10:38 AM.
The beauty of poetry is that it can be both, Julia, or neither. There is
both the intent of the author, reflecting something that is moving he/she
to write those words at that time but also the something moving in the
reader/hearer as their interpretation completes the creative circle.
In this seemingly simple poem there are complex elements of metaphor
relating to the temporary security of the womb and the chaos of war/life.
To lock it into a simple descriptive narrative is to do to the poem what
the flak and fighters did to the gunner.
On the other hand, it is unlikely that the author INTENDED the comparison
made in the first comment by TEH - it might have been better if TEH had
added the phrase "I see this as..." before the word "metaphor" to clarify
that this is his or her interpretation of the ideas in the poem as related
to a more contemporary debate - which is in fact entirely appropriate for
this forum. By this I mean not the debate itself, for which there are other
and more appropriate forums, but the discussion of how an individual reader
is moved by or reacts to the images presented by the author. This
engagement of the past with the present is a vital part of living poetry.
Todd from United States
Comment 2 of 49, added on September 6th, 2005 at 7:38 AM.
This is not a forum to air your reproductive right beliefs. The poem is a
metaphor for the precariousness of the position of the ball turrent gunner,
as it was considered to be the most vunerable position on the B-17. That's
Julia from United States
Comment 1 of 49, added on June 28th, 2005 at 8:27 PM.
This poem expresses Jarrell's experiences from being in the army in WWII.
The Ball Turret Gunner is a metaphor for a baby in its mother's womb. He
is saying that the death of men in the war brutal and insensitive, just as
it would be to abort a baby.
T E H from United States
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