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The Lake by Roger McGough

The Lake Essay 2

In your opinion, is the poet looking to blame anyone in ‘The Lake’?

I think that the poem casts blame generally at the public – at us, indeed – for not taking proper care of the environment. It is clearly our fault that the evil, unnatural pigs have been created and thrived at the bottom of the lake. They live off the various rubbish that, rather than disposing of properly, we have thrown into the lake: they make homes out of mattresses and plastic bags and eat rotten food. It is strongly implied that it was exactly this kind of habit of wasteful that destroyed the lake in the first place, killing all its natural inhabitants, like fish. Now people hurry past the lake, trying to ignore the problem. The poem ends by enacting a punishment on human beings. Not only are they kept imprisoned in their houses with their replica version of nature (such as plastic ducks), unable to enjoy the natural world they have ruined, but also the pigs are massing to attack them.

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