The Lake by Roger McGough
The Lake Essay 3
What do the underwater pigs make you feel when you read ‘The Lake’? Support your arguments with evidence from the poem.
The pigs make me feel frightened because they are unnatural and repellent. They are dirty, living in muddy sties, and they feed on horrible things like dead pets and rubbish (and worse!). The way in which they suck out the contents of a can is particularly disgusting. I also find it worrying how towards the end of the poem the pigs surface, look at human houses and lick their lips: they seem to be preparing to attack and eat us, too. In a sense, however, it is hard to visualize the pigs as predators. Pigs are conventionally harmless and lazy. The poet employs child-like language to describe them, mentioning their ‘piggy’ eyes. At the same time, they are horrifying because they oddly resemble human beings: they sleep on our mattresses and eat out discarded cans. The most frightening element of the poem is the idea that we have created these pigs.