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Evaluate the Language Techniques Used in the Poem 'Tissue' by Imtiaz Dharker

In this worksheet, students will evaluate the language devices used in the poem 'Tissue' by Imtiaz Dharker. They will also gain an understanding of the wider context of the poem.

'Evaluate the Language Techniques Used 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 tissue paper 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 architectural 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.

 

In the following questions, you will be asked to evaluate the language devices used in the poem.

tissue

 

 

In order to evaluate the language devices 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...
They are very important to people and are treated ...
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 blurry and unclear
In what way is human life like tissue paper?
It is fragile and can be easily broken

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

Let's recap your knowledge of language devices so that we know what we are looking for in the poem.

 

Poetry book and time piece

 

Match the language device to the definition.

Column A

Column B

Alliteration
Two words placed together with different meanings ...
Simile
Comparing two or more objects with the words 'like...
Onomatopoeia
Describing an inanimate object or animal with huma...
Metaphor
Words which sound like the effect they describe
Personification
Direct comparison of two things without using the ...
Oxymoron
Words beginning with the same letter sounds

The following quotation from 'Tissue' contains a metaphor:

 

"If buildings were paper, I might feel their drift"

 

Metaphor = A direct comparison without using the words 'like' or 'as'

 

What is the effect of this language device?

 

The poet describes how easily buildings are created

The poet compares buildings to light, that can be easily destroyed

The poet explains how she does not like big buildings

The poet wishes that society could have more buildings

Read the following quotation from the third stanza of the poem 'Tissue':

 

 "Pages smoothed and stroked and turned transparent with attention"

 

Here, the poet uses verbs to describe a religious text.

 

 

Bible

 

 

Why did the poet use this language device?

 

The poet wanted to create a sense of the love and care that people have for religious books

The poet wanted to show how people should treat religious books

The poet believes that people are wasting their time reading religious books

The poet believes that all books should be carefully handled

Read the following quotation from the poem 'Tissue' which contains personification:

 

"Through the shapes that pride can make"

 

Building blocks shapes

 

Why do you think the poet used this language device?

 

Paper is used to create great shapes

The shapes are buildings which have been created by people who want to display power

People are too proud to destroy the buildings they have created

In stanza four of 'Tissue' the poet uses a lexical field to describe how light and fragile paper is.

 

Lexical field = the way of organizing 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 language that you think is 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\"

In the sixth stanza of 'Tissue' the poet uses a simile to describe to the reader how society is too concerned with money. She believes that life would be better if we would value simple pleasures instead:

 

"Might fly our lives like paper kites"

 

kite

 

 

Why do you think the poet used this language device?

 

The poet wants people to focus on their children and create good lives for them

The poet wants the reader to understand that taking away the importance of money would make people free again - like children

The poet thinks that money should be enjoyed as much as children enjoy flying kites

The poet thinks that money is not important to children at all

Re-read the quotation from the last question:

 

"Might fly our lives like paper kites"

 

Can you evaluate the language used in this quotation?

 

For this question, you will have to write your answer using the PEE format - Make a point, give an example, explain with deeper detail.​

Read the following quotation from Tissue:

 

"Turned into your skin"

 

hands together

 

Can you evaluate the language used in this quotation?

 


For this question, you will have to write your answer using the PEE format - Make a point, give an example, explain with deeper detail.​

 

  • Question 1

tissue

 

 

In order to evaluate the language devices 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

Let's recap your knowledge of language devices so that we know what we are looking for in the poem.

 

Poetry book and time piece

 

Match the language device to the definition.

CORRECT ANSWER

Column A

Column B

Alliteration
Words beginning with the same let...
Simile
Comparing two or more objects wit...
Onomatopoeia
Words which sound like the effect...
Metaphor
Direct comparison of two things w...
Personification
Describing an inanimate object or...
Oxymoron
Two words placed together with di...
EDDIE SAYS
Well done if you managed to match them all! Language devices are a great way for poets to create imagery and tone. They also get you more marks in the exam, if you can identify them! Remember to always look out for language devices and try to use them when you are analysing a quotation.
  • Question 4

The following quotation from 'Tissue' contains a metaphor:

 

"If buildings were paper, I might feel their drift"

 

Metaphor = A direct comparison without using the words 'like' or 'as'

 

What is the effect of this language device?

 

CORRECT ANSWER
The poet compares buildings to light, that can be easily destroyed
EDDIE SAYS
The quotation "If buildings were paper, I might feel their drift" is a metaphor, as a paper structure would drift, but also we use the phrase 'catch my drift’ in order to explain what someone means or stands for. 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

Read the following quotation from the third stanza of the poem 'Tissue':

 

 "Pages smoothed and stroked and turned transparent with attention"

 

Here, the poet uses verbs to describe a religious text.

 

 

Bible

 

 

Why did the poet use this language device?

 

CORRECT ANSWER
The poet wanted to create a sense of the love and care that people have for religious books
EDDIE SAYS
The verbs "smoothed" and "stroked" are used to describe the action of how someone touches their religious text. The poet is again making a point here about how something as important and influential as a religious text, is printed on something as fragile as paper.
  • Question 6

Read the following quotation from the poem 'Tissue' which contains personification:

 

"Through the shapes that pride can make"

 

Building blocks shapes

 

Why do you think the poet used this language device?

 

CORRECT ANSWER
The shapes are buildings which have been created by people who want to display power
EDDIE SAYS
The quotation "through the shapes that pride can make" is an example of personification, as it describes how pride is given a form and human abilities to do something. It also creates suggests that we, society as a whole is this ‘pride’. Huge buildings are created as a way for humans to demonstrate how powerful they are.
  • Question 7

In stanza four of 'Tissue' the poet uses a lexical field to describe how light and fragile paper is.

 

Lexical field = the way of organizing 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 language that you think is 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 the 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. A lexical field is a great way to use words that are related in meaning and therefore further emphasise the idea that the poet is trying to stress.
  • Question 8

In the sixth stanza of 'Tissue' the poet uses a simile to describe to the reader how society is too concerned with money. She believes that life would be better if we would value simple pleasures instead:

 

"Might fly our lives like paper kites"

 

kite

 

 

Why do you think the poet used this language device?

 

CORRECT ANSWER
The poet wants the reader to understand that taking away the importance of money would make people free again - like children
EDDIE SAYS
The quotation "might fly our lives like paper kites" is an example of a simile, as it creates an impression of innocence and flying Kites connotes a childlike sense of happiness. Comparing these two things together suggests that if we changed our approach to material ownership, we would regain that childlike peace of mind.
  • Question 9

Re-read the quotation from the last question:

 

"Might fly our lives like paper kites"

 

Can you evaluate the language used in this quotation?

 

For this question, you will have to write your answer using the PEE format - Make a point, give an example, explain with deeper detail.​

CORRECT ANSWER
EDDIE SAYS
Example answer: The poet creates the impression that money has become too important to society and that our lives revolve around material possessions. She uses the simile "might fly our lives like paper kites" to explain how adults could find happiness in more simple pleasures such as kite flying. Acts that do not cost a lot of money. She is also referring to the innocence of children before they become introduced to the idea of money.

Although the whole of this question is marked out of 30, for this answer the student will only be making one point (AQA recommends that a student makes 3 comparison points throughout the essay) so we will mark this answer out of 6.
In order to gain full marks on this question the student should have written an extended paragraph that follows the PEE structure.
You should find a point, an example and an explanation.
The paragraph should include a quotation, language technique and some evaluation

  • Question 10

Read the following quotation from Tissue:

 

"Turned into your skin"

 

hands together

 

Can you evaluate the language used in this quotation?

 


For this question, you will have to write your answer using the PEE format - Make a point, give an example, explain with deeper detail.​

 

CORRECT ANSWER
EDDIE SAYS
Example answer: In the last line of the poem, the reader is asked to think about how all of the points raised in the poem can also relate to them. The poet uses direct address when she says that all of the examples can be "turned into your skin", which means that everything she has described is applicable to the reader's own life. The poet is suggesting that instead of being in conflict with the world around us, we can create a sense of shared identity and focus on what is really important.

Although the whole of this question is marked out of 30, for this answer the student will only be making one point (AQA recommends that a student makes 3 comparison points throughout the essay) so we will mark this answer out of 6.
In order to gain full marks on this question the student should have written an extended paragraph that follows the PEE structure.
You should find a point, an example and an explanation.
The paragraph should include a quotation, language technique and some evaluation.

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