“The Giving Tree” by Shel Silverstein
In the short story “The Giving Tree” by Shel Silverstein shows one of the methods of feminist criticism and how men and women genders think differently and gender equality. Why this story shows gender equality meaning that men and women are designed to be treated differently. The tree in the story is represented in some readers as a female and the tree is productive, nurturing and provider of shelter. In relation to the boy, the tree becomes the caregiver. Yet the boy in the story is assumed to be immature and receives all what the tree gives. Since women were supposed to fulfill certain roles, such as a caring mother, a diligent homemaker, and an obedient wife ”Once there was a tree……and she loved a little boy”.
That reflexes to “The Giving Tree” as the tree is the mother giving care for the little boy, whenever he is in need. Which the boy represents men who take advantage of women.”And everyday the boy would come and he would gather her leaves” The tree is presented with arms outstretched offering to embrace the male character and offer him safe secure area. While the tree (female) offers security and the boy (male) takes advantages and takes it without even saying a thank you to the tree and all it offers for the love of the boy. As closing thoughts this poem shows sexism and if the roles of the tree and boy were reverse that actions would have probably been different and even though it’s a good poem shows a lot of feminist criticism and is bias on how the author portrays this poem.
“The Chaser” by John Collier
As the author did give the tree feminine pronouns. It gives out a lot of questions on why it’s a girl and stirs up issues around gender. As why is the tree a women and does she represent an abusive relationship as it does tend to how that the tree gives everything the boy asks. Just so he can be happy. “I am too big to climb and play,”said the boy.”I want to buy things and have fun. I want some money”, Can you give me money?”. The choice words in here shows how demanding the boy seems to be asking for money to a tree and its a girl and she listens to him and gives him her apples to sell. Like if she was giving up part of her life. As this shows empowerment of men over women if also shows selfishness and not being grateful of what you got.
“The Chaser” by John Collier is another short story that shows how feminism is seen. Feminism is demonstrated on how it is motivated by self centered love. Also it shows how each individual gender is represented. In this story it shows a guy perspective of a guy. A sexist society. As this story is about a guy named Alan who is clearly in love with Diana, but getting offered a love potion to gain her love. It shows how actually Alan is which it reveals him being selfish.
As he is obsessed with Diana and deluded with the idea of a love potion. “The Chaser” shows on how women should surrender to a man’s whims. As Alan didn’t care for Diana’s feelings or emotions. “For indifference ,”said the old man, they substitute devotion. For scorn, adoration. Give one tiny measure of this to the young lady – its flavour is imperceptible in orange juice, soup, or cocktails- and however gay and giddy she is, she will change altogether. She will want nothing but solitude and you.” Assuming that the potion will work and this shows how the man only cares for a girl to solute to him but doesn’t think on what she wants. In the story , the traditional view of gender is not so approached, but the idea of a male controlling female is clear in the whole story.
Patriarchal and Sexist Society
Alan wants to control Diana’s feelings and her attitudes and this shows the evidence that Alan and the old salesman is sexist and care for no women feelings. “Yes, said the old man. How carefully she will look after you. She will never allow you to be tired, to sit in a drought, to neglect your food. If you are an hour late, she will be terrified. She will think you are killed, or that some siren has caught you” The word choices in this passage is evidence of the patriarchal and sexist society. As the words are action type words and the women in a slave toward the men. Yet the short story “The Chaser “ is not about love, instead about one’s selfish love. So for Alan not thinking of anyone besides himself. As Alan truly thinks that Diana is already in love with him, but she deny it or she doesn’t care enough for him. Yet he is sure the position will work. As he is so sure of his position as a powerful man in that kind of society that he doesn’t mind using wrong methods to achieve his goals. Which this makes him a sexist and doesn’t deny that.
As feminist Criticism interpretation focus on relationships between genders and it examines the patterns of thoughts and behaviors and the values enfranchisement. In which power in relation between and within sexes. It will always play a big part of literature work and these short stories show some examples of feminist criticism. As it may not seem like a bad thing it shows different perspective from different people’s point of view. Especially women who see the gender difference. And how now a day the world has changed the way literature in stories are portrayed.