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Explore How the Key Themes Develop in the Poem 'Tissue' by Imtiaz Dharker

In this worksheet, students will undertake an exploration of how the key themes develop in the poem 'Tissue' by Imtiaz Dharker.

'Explore How the Key Themes Develop 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.

 

The poem 'Tissue' by Imtiaz Dharker reveals the power of paper, and how it can be used for many different things. It is about the fragility and the power of humanity, which is used as an extended metaphor throughout the poem. The speaker, in the 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. There are also real-life references to other lasting uses we have for paper in our lives, for example; maps, receipts and architectural drawings.

 

paper

 

The poem focuses mainly on the themes of religion, power and the fragility of life.

 

In the following questions, you will be asked about how these themes develop throughout the poem.

tissue

 

 

In order to explore how themes develop in the poem 'Tissue' we need to understand the meaning of the poem. Match the questions to the correct 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 are very important to people and are treated ...
Why are some books "smoothed and stroked" as pages...
They are blurry and unclear
In what way is human life like tissue paper?
They have the ability to contain information that ...

 

tissue

 

 

Now that you have read the poem 'Tissue', which summary do you think best explores the themes of 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

The main theme running throughout the poem is religion, which is used to show the power and influence of paper. The poet develops this idea throughout by dropping in words that remind the reader of religion.

 

The words and phrases below are all taken from the poem 'Tissue'. Can you decide which words/phrases relate to religion, and which do not?

 Words associated with religionWords NOT associated with religion
Light
Buildings
Koran
Maps
Shines
Railtracks

Let's have a look at how the theme of religion is developed throughout the poem. Read the following quotation from 'Tissue'.

 

"Pages smoothed and stroked and turned transparent with attention"

 

 

reading

 

 

What is the poet trying to tell the reader here?

 

Religion is so important that the books are read many times

The pages of religious books are fragile

Religion is so important to some people that they will treat their religious book with love and care

Another theme developed throughout 'Tissue' is the power that paper can hold.

 

Throughout the poem, this idea is developed by comparing paper to many important things.

 

Which words do you think are associated with the theme of power, and which are not?

 Words associated with powerWords NOT associated with power
Capitals
Monoliths
Sigh
Grand
Slips
Mountains
Kites

Let's take a look at how the theme of power develops throughout the poem. Read the following quotation from 'Tissue'.

 

"Paper that lets the light shine through, this is what could alter things"

 

 

morning light

 

 

What do you think the poet meant with the use of the word 'alter'?

 

Paper is so thin that it lets light through

Paper has the power to change things and record our memories

Things look different when they are produced on paper

Throughout the poem, the theme of instability is developed as an idea that what we see as powerful, is not. Although value is placed on buildings, maps and money; they are all less powerful than nature.

 

Read the following quotation from 'Tissue' and fill in the blanks to create an explanation of the theme.

 

"Raise a structure never meant to last"

Paper is so thin that it lets light through

Paper has the power to change things and record our memories

Things look different when they are produced on paper

Let's take a look at how the theme of instability develops throughout the poem. 

 

The following quotation from 'Tissue' explains how a kite flies in different directions like life can.

 

"Might fly our lives like paper kites"

 

 

kite

 

 

Let's take a deeper look at this quotation and the theme of instability. Why do you think the poet used the word "fly"?

 

The word "fly" suggests that people wish they could go away

The word "fly" suggests the level of happiness that people can feel

The word "fly" suggests that children feel the highest form of happiness

Throughout the poem, Human essence (what we are made of) is developed as a theme to explore how material things can disappear, but human beings can outlast them.

 

 

people

 

 

The quotations below are all from the poem 'Tissue'. Choose two which you think supports the theme of human essence.

"But let the daylight break through"

"Transparent with attention"

"Turned into your skin"

"How easily they fall away on a sigh"

Have another look at the following quotation from 'Tissue' which explores the theme of human essence:

 

'How easily they fall away on a sigh'

 

skyscraper

 

 

How does the poet feel about the buildings we create?

 

For this question, you will have to write your own answer using the PEE format - Make a POINT, give an EXAMPLE, EXPLAIN with deeper detail.

  • Question 1

tissue

 

 

In order to explore how themes develop in the poem 'Tissue' we need to understand the meaning of the poem. Match the questions to the correct 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

 

tissue

 

 

Now that you have read the poem 'Tissue', which summary do you think best explores the themes of 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

The main theme running throughout the poem is religion, which is used to show the power and influence of paper. The poet develops this idea throughout by dropping in words that remind the reader of religion.

 

The words and phrases below are all taken from the poem 'Tissue'. Can you decide which words/phrases relate to religion, and which do not?

CORRECT ANSWER
 Words associated with religionWords NOT associated with religion
Light
Buildings
Koran
Maps
Shines
Railtracks
EDDIE SAYS
In the first three stanzas of the poem, religion is described as an extremely important part of some people's lives. The poet makes the point however that all religious books are fragile and the paper eventually becomes 'transparent' or thin through the constant turning and touching of the pages.
  • Question 4

Let's have a look at how the theme of religion is developed throughout the poem. Read the following quotation from 'Tissue'.

 

"Pages smoothed and stroked and turned transparent with attention"

 

 

reading

 

 

What is the poet trying to tell the reader here?

 

CORRECT ANSWER
Religion is so important to some people that they will treat their religious book with love and care
EDDIE SAYS
The verbs "smoothed" and "stroked" create the impression that the paper that religious books are printed on is very important to some people. The fact that they treat the pages with such care, shows that the information they hold is valuable and important.
  • Question 5

Another theme developed throughout 'Tissue' is the power that paper can hold.

 

Throughout the poem, this idea is developed by comparing paper to many important things.

 

Which words do you think are associated with the theme of power, and which are not?

CORRECT ANSWER
 Words associated with powerWords NOT associated with power
Capitals
Monoliths
Sigh
Grand
Slips
Mountains
Kites
EDDIE SAYS
Throughout the poem, paper is compared to the things that people view as important or powerful. Words such as "mountains" and "grand" suggest the power that can be held on paper. Powerful buildings, built to impress, all start from a piece of paper. The poet creates the impression that people use paper to plan their "grand designs" which are the start of impressive things such as "capitals" and "monoliths".
  • Question 6

Let's take a look at how the theme of power develops throughout the poem. Read the following quotation from 'Tissue'.

 

"Paper that lets the light shine through, this is what could alter things"

 

 

morning light

 

 

What do you think the poet meant with the use of the word 'alter'?

 

CORRECT ANSWER
Paper has the power to change things and record our memories
EDDIE SAYS
The quotation "Paper that lets the light shine through, this is what could alter things" creates the impression that even the most delicate kinds of paper can record the most important details - of family life, national borders or financial transactions. Specifically, the word 'alter' suggests that paper has the power to change important things.
  • Question 7

Throughout the poem, the theme of instability is developed as an idea that what we see as powerful, is not. Although value is placed on buildings, maps and money; they are all less powerful than nature.

 

Read the following quotation from 'Tissue' and fill in the blanks to create an explanation of the theme.

 

"Raise a structure never meant to last"

CORRECT ANSWER
EDDIE SAYS
The quotation "raise a structure never meant to last" creates the impression that although paper can be the starting plan of large buildings, these buildings will not last forever. This is a reference to the idea that buildings can always be destroyed by nature and conflict.
  • Question 8

Let's take a look at how the theme of instability develops throughout the poem. 

 

The following quotation from 'Tissue' explains how a kite flies in different directions like life can.

 

"Might fly our lives like paper kites"

 

 

kite

 

 

Let's take a deeper look at this quotation and the theme of instability. Why do you think the poet used the word "fly"?

 

CORRECT ANSWER
The word "fly" suggests the level of happiness that people can feel
EDDIE SAYS
In this quotation, the poet uses a simile (a comparison using 'like' or 'as' to create a vivid image) to suggest that our lives are not always in our control, but more like kites being blown by the wind. Specifically, the word "fly" is used to describe the highest state of happiness that people can feel. The poet is saying that instead of money, this happiness can be found in more simple pleasures.
  • Question 9

Throughout the poem, Human essence (what we are made of) is developed as a theme to explore how material things can disappear, but human beings can outlast them.

 

 

people

 

 

The quotations below are all from the poem 'Tissue'. Choose two which you think supports the theme of human essence.

CORRECT ANSWER
"Turned into your skin"
"How easily they fall away on a sigh"
EDDIE SAYS
The quotation "Turned into your skin" supports the theme of human essence, as it makes the point at the end of the poem that although all of the ideas in the poem have been created by paper, it is actually humans who have started them off. The buildings, maps and books might all disappear, but ideas created by people will continue. These buildings can also "fall away on a sigh" which means that they should have less importance than 'human essence'.
  • Question 10

Have another look at the following quotation from 'Tissue' which explores the theme of human essence:

 

'How easily they fall away on a sigh'

 

skyscraper

 

 

How does the poet feel about the buildings we create?

 

For this question, you will have to write your own 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 another thing which is started as plans on paper, buildings, are not as powerful as we think. The poet uses personification to explain "how easily they fall away on a sigh" which gives buildings a much less powerful and more fragile, or human, description. The point the poet is making here is that we shouldn't place such value on things that can be easily destroyed.

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 the 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

Try it ---- OR ----

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