A BROWN PAPER CARRIERBAG -
Your task is to write a critical essay of Roger
McGough's poem “A Brown Paper Carrierbag”
showing how the poet makes an horrific act of
violence seem very realistic.
Paragraph 1: The Introduction
• What THREE things do you need to mention in
• Say what the poem is about.
• Also, do you need to mention where the poem
could be set (country and place — location) or
should you make comment about the fact that
it could be any of a dozen countries in the
Paragraph 2: Stanza (verse)1
• In this paragraph say what is happening and talk about
the imagery (metaphors) of the poem.
• This means the way that the poet has used the
metaphors of the spider's web and the lethal stars to
describe what happens. The first one has been started
for you already: In stanza one the poet has used the
words "a spider's web" to describe the way that the
glass has cracked. This is a good comparison because
• You should now talk about the repeated `s' sounds in
this stanza. This is called alliteration. Say what you
think the `s' sound is describing.
Paragraph 3: Stanza 2
• Here you should talk about the other metaphor
that the poet uses.
• ”Jigsaw” – what does this imply (child’s toy)
• Comment on the words "tucking in", and why
Roger McGough has left a gap in this verse. Say
how these words are ambiguous (they mean
more than one thing).
• You could also mention the words "shrapnel",
"hunger" and "sated" and what you think these
Paragraph 4: verse 3
• In this part of the essay say what has
happened. You could talk about the poet's
words (word choice) and why everything has
slowed down for him (almost freeze framed).
Paragraph 5: Harmless (Innocuous)
words that make a harmful poem. –
• Here, pick out some of the harmless words,
such as "web". (See how many you can find).
• Say how these things that the words describe
can't hurt you but the poet has used these
words to create harmful and horrific pictures
in your head. The first sentence has been
started for you. In the poem, the poet has
used many words that have pleasant
associations. These are words like………….
Paragraph 6: The conclusion
• Finally, say what you thought about the poem and
whether it was effective. In other words did the poets
word choice make the scene come to life and what do
you think that the poet feels about this act of
terrorism. You should also mention why the poet has
placed bold, capital (upper case) words (part of the
title) around the stanzas. Also, what you feel was the
best part of the poem and why.
• Remember that the bold headings tell us something
about the "time it takes" and they frame the verses like
a snapshot (photograph).