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Describe and Explain the Key Contextual Features of the Poem 'Tissue' by Imtiaz Dharker

In this worksheet, students will describe the context of the poem 'Tissue' and explain its significance.

'Describe and Explain the Key Contextual Features of 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.

 

Imtiaz Dharker is a poet and film maker, she has Pakistani origins and was raised in Glasgow. A great number of her poems look at issues such as religion, terrorism and global politics/identity. As a result her work can be difficult to grasp.

The poem is written from the point of view of someone today looking out at the conflict and troubles of the modern world; destruction, war and politics, money and wealth as well as issues like terrorism and identity.

 

paper

 

In the following questions, you will be asked about the context of the poem.

 

 

tissue

 

 

In order to explore the context of 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 below do you think best explains the context 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

A number of Imtiaz Dharker's poems look at the context of religion and the power and influence it has on the world. 

 

Dharker believes that religion is also important as a way to record history.

 

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

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

Let's have a deeper look at the context of religion. Read the following quotation from 'Tissue':

 

 

"Pages smoothed and stroked and turned transparent with attention"

 

 

 

reading

 

 

 

Underline two words from the quotation which you think creates a sense of how religion is important to some people.

\"Pages smoothed and stroked and turned transparent with attention\"

'Tissue' is taken from a 2006 collection of poems titled 'The Terrorist at my Table'. Dharker has said that the collection was written to make people question how we view those around us and how much we truly know each other.

 

The following quotation is taken from the poem 'Tissue'. Can you underline the words which create a sense of the power that paper can hold?

\"Through capitals and monoliths, through the shapes that pride can make, find a way to trace a grand design\"

Let's take a deeper look at the context of power. Read the following quotation from 'Tissue':

 

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

 

 

morning light

 

 

How does this quotation support the theme of power? Choose one explanation from the list below.

 

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

The poem's context is linked to the conflict and troubles of the modern world.

 

Dharker believes that one trouble with the world today is believing that the things people create will last forever.

 

The quotations below are all from the poem 'Tissue'. Choose one which you think supports the context of troubles of the modern world.

 

"Raise a structure never meant to last"

"Paper smoothed and stroked"

"Direction of the wind"

"Transparent with attention"

The context of conflicts and trouble of the modern world is further explained with the following simile from 'Tissue':

 

"Might fly our lives like paper kites"

 

 

kite

 

 

How does this quotation support the context of conflict?

 

The kite will not always stay in the air

A kite flies in different directions, like life can

People need to spend more time having fun

Dharker has said "I learn to love the thing that has to be erased, the thing I may not be allowed to keep".

 

The context of identity runs throughout the poem. Dharker makes the point that we should place importance on 'human tissue' rather than money and buildings.

 

 

people

 

 

The quotations below are all from the poem 'Tissue'. Choose one which you think supports the context of identity.

 

"But let the daylight break through"

"Transparent with attention"

"Turned into your skin"

"Direction of the wind"

Imtiaz Dharker was born in Pakistan but raised in Scotland. She now spends her time between the two culturally different countries of India and Pakistan.

 

Dharker further develops the context of identity by comparing how buildings are not as powerful, or long-lasting as humans. Read the following quotation from 'Tissue':

 

"How easily they fall away on a sigh"

 

How does this quotation support the context of identity?

 

Buildings last a lot longer than people

Buildings make people sad

It is not large buildings that are powerful, but the people who create their idea

  • Question 1

tissue

 

 

In order to explore the context of 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 below do you think best explains the context 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

A number of Imtiaz Dharker's poems look at the context of religion and the power and influence it has on the world. 

 

Dharker believes that religion is also important as a way to record history.

 

The words and phrases below are all taken from the poem 'Tissue'. Can you decide which words/phrases relate to the context of 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 deeper look at the context of religion. Read the following quotation from 'Tissue':

 

 

"Pages smoothed and stroked and turned transparent with attention"

 

 

 

reading

 

 

 

Underline two words from the quotation which you think creates a sense of how religion is important to some people.

CORRECT ANSWER
"Pages smoothed and stroked and turned transparent with attention"
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

'Tissue' is taken from a 2006 collection of poems titled 'The Terrorist at my Table'. Dharker has said that the collection was written to make people question how we view those around us and how much we truly know each other.

 

The following quotation is taken from the poem 'Tissue'. Can you underline the words which create a sense of the power that paper can hold?

CORRECT ANSWER
"Through capitals and monoliths, through the shapes that pride can make, find a way to trace a grand design"
EDDIE SAYS
This quotation describes how powerful buildings, built to impress, all start from a piece of paper. The poet creates the impression that people use paper to create "grand designs" which are the start of impressive things such as "capitals" and "monoliths".
  • Question 6

Let's take a deeper look at the context of power. Read the following quotation from 'Tissue':

 

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

 

 

morning light

 

 

How does this quotation support the theme of power? Choose one explanation from the list below.

 

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.
  • Question 7

The poem's context is linked to the conflict and troubles of the modern world.

 

Dharker believes that one trouble with the world today is believing that the things people create will last forever.

 

The quotations below are all from the poem 'Tissue'. Choose one which you think supports the context of troubles of the modern world.

 

CORRECT ANSWER
"Raise a structure never meant to last"
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. The poem remarks how nothing is meant to last, that it would be better not to hold on too tightly to the material and instead, we should be willing to let go and pass things on in their time to be remade. In short, that the world would be better if it shared more qualities with "tissue".
  • Question 8

The context of conflicts and trouble of the modern world is further explained with the following simile from 'Tissue':

 

"Might fly our lives like paper kites"

 

 

kite

 

 

How does this quotation support the context of conflict?

 

CORRECT ANSWER
A kite flies in different directions, like life can
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. A kite could be described as being 'unstable' in the same way that power and buildings are.
  • Question 9

Dharker has said "I learn to love the thing that has to be erased, the thing I may not be allowed to keep".

 

The context of identity runs throughout the poem. Dharker makes the point that we should place importance on 'human tissue' rather than money and buildings.

 

 

people

 

 

The quotations below are all from the poem 'Tissue'. Choose one which you think supports the context of identity.

 

CORRECT ANSWER
"Turned into your skin"
EDDIE SAYS
The quotation "turned into your skin" supports the context of identity, 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 thought of them, and thus birthed them. The buildings, maps and books might all disappear, but ideas created by people will continue.
  • Question 10

Imtiaz Dharker was born in Pakistan but raised in Scotland. She now spends her time between the two culturally different countries of India and Pakistan.

 

Dharker further develops the context of identity by comparing how buildings are not as powerful, or long-lasting as humans. Read the following quotation from 'Tissue':

 

"How easily they fall away on a sigh"

 

How does this quotation support the context of identity?

 

CORRECT ANSWER
It is not large buildings that are powerful, but the people who create their idea
EDDIE SAYS
This quotation creates the idea that human identity can outlast even things that seem permanent but have collapsed, like large buildings. The poet is making the point that it is people we should value, and not the impressive buildings that they create.
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