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Identify and Explain the Key Quotes in the Poem 'Tissue' by Imtiaz Dharker

In this worksheet, students will develop an understanding of the poem 'Tissue' by identifying and explaining the key quotes.

'Identify and Explain the Key Quotes in the Poem 'Tissue' by Imtiaz Dharker' worksheet

Key stage:  KS 4

GCSE Subjects:   English Literature

GCSE Boards:   AQA

Curriculum topic:   Poetry

Curriculum subtopic:   Power and Conflict: 'Tissue'

Difficulty level:  

Worksheet Overview

QUESTION 1 of 10

For this activity, you will need to turn to the poem 'Tissue' by Imtiaz Dharker, which can be found in the Power and Conflict section of your Anthology.

 

 

tissue

 

 

The speaker in this poem uses tissues as an extended metaphor for life. She considers how paper can "alter things" and refers to the soft thin paper of religious books, in particular, the Qur'an. There are also real-life references to other lasting uses we have for paper in our lives, such as maps, receipts and architect drawings. Each of these items is connected to important aspects of life: journeys, money and home. These examples demonstrate how important, but also how fragile, paper is.

 

 

tissue

 

 

In order to identify the key quotations in 'Tissue', we need to understand the meaning of the poem. Read the poem and match the questions to the answers below:

 

Column A

Column B

How are images altered when you look at them throu...
It is fragile and can be easily broken
Books are made from paper and paper is fragile; ye...
They have the ability to contain information that ...
Why are some books "smoothed and stroked" as pages...
They are very important to people and are treated ...
In what way is human life like tissue paper?
They are blurry and unclear

Now that you have read the poem 'Tissue', which summary below do you think best explains the poem?

 

The poem discusses the importance of money. It has no real value, but controls everyone's lives

The poem discusses the role of paper. It records human history and is used to shape civilisation and to control lives, but is fragile

The poem discusses the importance of books and how the printed word has changed the world

Read the first two stanzas of the poem 'Tissue' and think about the following quotations:

 

"Paper that lets the light shine through

The back of the Koran"

 

What do these key quotations suggest?

 

They are references to ghosts and ancestry

They are references to currency and transactions

They are religious connotations

Read the following quotation from 'Tissue':

 

"If buildings were paper, I might
feel their drift, see how easily
they fall away on a sigh"

 

Why might the narrator think differently about buildings if they were made from paper?

 

They would remind her that they are not safe

They would remind her that they are fragile and not permanent

They would remind her that they are easily built

They would remind her that they have been designed carefully

Throughout the poem 'Tissue', the speaker relates many things to tissue.

 

The words below are all taken from the poem. Which words are associated with paper and which are not?

 Words associated with paperWords NOT associated with paper
Books
Histories
Buildings
Maps
Slips
Monoliths
Skin
Light
Names

Read the following quotation from the poem 'Tissue':

 

"Maps too. The sun shines through their borderlines"

 

street map

 

What do you think is the meaning of this key quotation?

 

The sun illuminates maps so people can read them

The sun is big and powerful and enables life

The sun is strong and bright and can fade the printed words

In stanza four of 'Tissue', there is a lexical field relating to air, which suggests how light and insignificant paper is.

 

A lexical field is a way of organising related words and expressions into a system that shows their relationship to one another.

 

parcel floating

 

Read the following extract from 'Tissue' and underline any keywords which you think are part of this lexical field.

 

 

 

\"If buildings were paper, I might feel their drift, see how easily they fall away on a sigh, a shift in the direction of the wind\"

The poet explains to the reader that society is too concerned with money. She believes that life would be better if we would value simple pleasures instead.

 

kite

 

The following quotations are all from the poem 'Tissue'. Choose one quotation that you would use to support the point above.

 

"The sun shines through their borderlines"

"Might fly our lives like paper kites"

"Fine slips from grocery shops"

"Let the daylight break through capitals"

Consider the last line of the poem 'Tissue'.

 

What do you think the poet was trying to say in this last line? 

 

Human life is precious

Human tissue is fragile

A human's life is brief

All humans return to the earth eventually

Now that we have looked at the key quotations of 'Tissue', let's look at the poem as a whole.

 

What are the key themes of the poem? Choose two from the list below.

 

Nature

Suffering

Role of humans

Distance

Impact of conflict

Anger

  • Question 1

tissue

 

 

In order to identify the key quotations in 'Tissue', we need to understand the meaning of the poem. Read the poem and match the questions to the answers below:

 

CORRECT ANSWER

Column A

Column B

How are images altered when you l...
They are blurry and unclear
Books are made from paper and pap...
They have the ability to contain ...
Why are some books "smoothed and ...
They are very important to people...
In what way is human life like ti...
It is fragile and can be easily b...
EDDIE SAYS
The poet uses tissue as an extended metaphor for life; tissue in all its meanings — paper, human skin and organs, plans for our future written on paper, maps printed on paper, buildings designed by architects on paper plans. The variations are many. Tissue can also refer to the makeup of the human body, and we are all fragile, just like tissue paper.
  • Question 2

Now that you have read the poem 'Tissue', which summary below do you think best explains the poem?

 

CORRECT ANSWER
The poem discusses the role of paper. It records human history and is used to shape civilisation and to control lives, but is fragile
EDDIE SAYS
The poem discusses the role of paper. Paper records human history and is used to shape civilisation and change lives, but it is fragile. This idea is used throughout the poem in an extended metaphor (when a single metaphor is used in multiple ways).
  • Question 3

Read the first two stanzas of the poem 'Tissue' and think about the following quotations:

 

"Paper that lets the light shine through

The back of the Koran"

 

What do these key quotations suggest?

 

CORRECT ANSWER
They are religious connotations
EDDIE SAYS
The first stanza creates imagery of a religious text being read over time, and the reference to "light" is a biblical reference. In the second stanza, the "Koran" (alternative spelling) is mentioned, which emphasises the importance of religious texts.
  • Question 4

Read the following quotation from 'Tissue':

 

"If buildings were paper, I might
feel their drift, see how easily
they fall away on a sigh"

 

Why might the narrator think differently about buildings if they were made from paper?

 

CORRECT ANSWER
They would remind her that they are fragile and not permanent
EDDIE SAYS
It becomes clearer in the fourth stanza that paper is being used as an extended metaphor for human fragility. Our lives are controlled by 'paper' yet it is so easily destroyed.
  • Question 5

Throughout the poem 'Tissue', the speaker relates many things to tissue.

 

The words below are all taken from the poem. Which words are associated with paper and which are not?

CORRECT ANSWER
 Words associated with paperWords NOT associated with paper
Books
Histories
Buildings
Maps
Slips
Monoliths
Skin
Light
Names
EDDIE SAYS
The narrator associates maps, receipts and cities with paper. Maps and receipts only have meaning to humans and human nature is fragile, which is why great cities have fallen!
  • Question 6

Read the following quotation from the poem 'Tissue':

 

"Maps too. The sun shines through their borderlines"

 

street map

 

What do you think is the meaning of this key quotation?

 

CORRECT ANSWER
The sun is big and powerful and enables life
EDDIE SAYS
The sun is big and powerful and enables life, whereas borders are temporary, divide people and create conflict. There is a sense that the power of nature enables us to see the fragility of humans - it pays no attention to borders!
  • Question 7

In stanza four of 'Tissue', there is a lexical field relating to air, which suggests how light and insignificant paper is.

 

A lexical field is a way of organising related words and expressions into a system that shows their relationship to one another.

 

parcel floating

 

Read the following extract from 'Tissue' and underline any keywords which you think are part of this lexical field.

 

 

 

CORRECT ANSWER
"If buildings were paper, I might
feel their drift, see how easily
they fall away on a sigh, a shift
in the direction of the wind"
EDDIE SAYS
By using this lexical field, the poet creates a repetition of the idea that everything is as fragile as paper, even buildings. They too can be destroyed as easily as something floating on the wind.
  • Question 8

The poet explains to the reader that society is too concerned with money. She believes that life would be better if we would value simple pleasures instead.

 

kite

 

The following quotations are all from the poem 'Tissue'. Choose one quotation that you would use to support the point above.

 

CORRECT ANSWER
"Might fly our lives like paper kites"
EDDIE SAYS
The quotation "might fly our lives like paper kites" creates an impression of innocence, as flying kites connotes a childlike sense of happiness. Suggesting perhaps that, if we changed our approach to material ownership, we would regain that childlike peace of mind.
  • Question 9

Consider the last line of the poem 'Tissue'.

 

What do you think the poet was trying to say in this last line? 

 

CORRECT ANSWER
Human tissue is fragile
EDDIE SAYS
The final line uses a personal pronoun, 'your', to include the reader. It makes the link between paper and human tissue, which highlights that humans are as fragile as the world they have created. This line could also suggest that humans are complex, like the things they create.
  • Question 10

Now that we have looked at the key quotations of 'Tissue', let's look at the poem as a whole.

 

What are the key themes of the poem? Choose two from the list below.

 

CORRECT ANSWER
Nature
Role of humans
EDDIE SAYS
The poem looks at conflict, in terms of destruction and politics particularly. It hints that we make our own conflict by holding on too tight to power and control and actually we need to relax and remember we are all human. Well done, that's another activity completed!
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