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  • Tissue
    • Overview
      • 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
      • There are also real life references to other lasting uses we have for paper in our lives such as maps, receipts and architect drawings.
      • In the final stages of the poem, the poet links the idea of a building being made from paper to human skin, using the words 'living tissue' and then 'your skin'.
    • Themes, evidence & Analysis
      • Power: this poem refers to the power of paper to change things and to record our memories.
        • Evidence: 'this/ is what could alter things
          • Analysis: Even the most delicate kinds of paper can record the most important details - of family life, national borders or financial transactions.
      • Instability: the speaker suggests that paper (used as a metaphor for buildings) is at the mercy of greater forces, such as the weather.
        • Evidence: 'might fly our lives like paper kites'
          • Analysis: The simile (a comparison using 'like' or 'as' to create a vivid image) suggests that our lives are not always in our control, but more like kites being blown by the wind.
      • Human essence: this poem compares the significance and fragility of paper documents to the fleeting nature of building structures.
        • Evidence: 'how easily/ they fall away on a sigh,'/ 'turned into your skin.'
          • Analysis: The essence of human beings can outlast even things that seem permanent but have collapsed, like large buildings
    • Form, structure and language
      • Structure: Tissue is mainly constructed in unrhymed, irregular quatrains.
        • Language: The speaker emphasises the delicacy of the paper by using adjectives throughout the poem. The paper is described as 'fine', 'thin' and 'transparent'
      • Form: This form can be seen to represent the irregularity of life and the flimsy nature of the tissue paper the poem refers to.
    • Context
      • Imtiaz Dharker is a contemporary poet who was born in Pakistan and grew up in Scotland.
      • She has written five collections of poetry and often deals with themes of identity, the role of women in contemporary society and the search for meaning.


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