“The Death of the Ball Turret Gunner,” “Buffalo Bill’s,” & “We Real Cool” (in Poetry handout)
In this assignment, students are to assess, in a written analysis, who the Speaker is (be careful!! things can be tricky!!) in each of these poems and what the tone (attitude) of the Speaker is in each. Remember, the Speaker is NEVER the author. The Speaker is a device created by the poet to have an effect on the tone and meaning of the poem. You want to say as much as you can about the Speaker, but you have to be able to reasonably support what you say (read the Intro to Poetry Lecture). To reasonably support, one must use the language specifically present in the poem as much as possible.
Tone is difficult. It will be described using adjectives (happy, sad, angry, contemplative, etc.) A tone can be complex, a combination of attitudes. Also, do not decide what tone is according to the theme of the poem. A poem may be about death, but the Speaker’s attitude may not be sad at all. So, when it comes to tone…LISTEN to how the poem sounds.
The more detail and the better the logic, the higher the score.
Who used to ride a watersmooth-silver
and break onetwothreefourfive pigeonsjustlikethat
He was a handsome man
And what i want to know is
How do you like your blue-eyed boy
THE DEATH OF THE BALL TURRET GUNNER
From my motherâ€s sleep I fell into the State
And I hunched in its belly till my wet fur froze.
Six miles from earth, loosed from its dream of life,
I woke to black flak and the nightmare fighters.
When I died, they washed me out of the turret with a hose.
WE REAL COOL
The Pool Players.
Seven at the Golden Shovel.
We real cool. We
Left school. We
Lurk late. We
Strike straight. We
Sing sin. We
Thin gin. We
Jazz June. We
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