The story, “The Giving Tree,” is a book written by Shel Silverstein that is about the relationship between a tree and a boy. In the beginning of the story, the boy and the tree spend a lot of time together having fun. For example, they would play hide and seek, the boy would play on the branches, and the boy would play king of the forest with the leaves of the tree. The tree would be very happy because she was interacting with the boy. Throughout the story, the boy would spend less and less time with the tree. As a result, the tree would become sad. Once in a while the boy would come back, asking for certain things, and the tree would be happy to help the boy because she loved the boy so much.
Through the story, “The Giving Tree,” Shel Silverstein relates a lesson of how giving is more important than taking. In the story, the boy takes advantage of the tree by taking everything that the tree has. The tree gives freely without complaining because the tree loves the boy, and wants him to be happy. In the end, all the boy wanted to do was to spend time with the tree once again. If the boy did not continuously take advantage of the tree, the boy did not have to miss, and become unhappy about the old tree that loved him so much.
The tree’s love for the boy is a perfect example of what people should be like: giving freely, and unconditionally. If everyone was like the tree, there would be very little unhappiness in the world, and the world would be a better place. If countries started to give freely to one another, there would be fewer wars, there would be no more sadness and devastation, and there would be world happiness and peace. The message from Shel Silverstein is to not be like the boy who ultimately becomes unhappy by taking from the tree. In summary, Silverstein uses the story to expound on the idea that giving is more important than receiving.
The story also has a slight reference to the relationship between mother and child. The tree (the mom) was willing to give anything to the boy (the son). The tree sacrifices herself in order to make the boy happy, which any mom would probably do for her son. In the beginning, the tree wanted to sacrifice its time just to play with the boy. This is similar to a parent, which sacrifices time to interact with and provide for their kids. Towards the teenage years, the tree gives up her apples so that the boy could have money. Likewise, many parents sacrifice money to have their children enjoy their teenage years: movies, cars, trips, etc.
When the boy becomes an adult, he takes the branches and trunk of the tree away to build a house, and a boat. All of these examples exemplify the ways in which moms make so many sacrifices to make their children happy, but some kids just take them, run with them, and never think about how much it cost their moms. As depicted in the story, the boy never expressed any gratitude to the tree. The boy rarely went back to visit the tree, but only visited the tree to take something away for his own personal benefit. Furthermore, moms also show sadness when their children leave them for college, and adulthood. When the boy does not come back to see the tree for years at a time because of his own issues, the tree becomes sad. In short, Silverstein illustrates the interaction between mother and child by showing the selfless acts of parents and the selfishness of children.
The book, “The Giving Tree,” can strongly connect to our relationship between the environment and humans. Currently, there is an evident problem of global warming. This recent dilemma is caused because of our selfish taking from the environment. The tree can strongly resemble the earth on which we live, and the boy can resemble humans. We constantly take from the Earth, and rarely give back to the environment.
For example, during the 20th century, industries took advantage of the Earth without replenishing resources: deforestation, driving animals to extinction, and over-fishing. Furthermore, since global warming has become such a big problem now, we want to go back to live on the lush, non-polluted earth. Likewise, after the boy takes everything away from the tree, the boy wanted the tree to be like it was before. Ultimately, the book elucidates the way in which humans abuse the environment just like how the boy misused the tree.
A question that can come to mind when reading Shel Silverstein’s story is, what is the reason for writing the story. Silverstein might have written the book for young children, but it was to teach everyone of the “give not take,” principle. Moreover, another question can be what is the reason for allowing the boy not to think about his selfishness? Perhaps Silverstein wanted to portray the fact that people are sometimes selfish. Finally, throughout the story, why is the boy referred to as a boy even though he becomes a man. Maybe Silverstein was writing in the perspective of a mother because a mom always calls his son her boy.
Courtney from Study Moose
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