|Photo Credit: Mom Is Forever|
The Giving Tree
The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein has been a favorite book in our house for nearly nineteen years. It is a unique story about a life long friendship involving dedication and sacrifice.
The story is about a tree who loves a little boy. The little boy comes every day and plays around the tree. He climbs the tree and plays with the tree’s leaves. He swings on the tree’s branches and eats the tree’s apples. The little boy plays games and rests under the tree. The tree loves the little boy and the little boy loves the tree. They share a very happy friendship.
The boy grows and spends less time with the tree.
One day the boy returns to the tree. He is too old to play with the tree, but he asks the tree for money. The tree has no money so the tree gives the boy her apples. She instructs the boy to take the apples and sell them so he will have money and be happy. If the boy is happy, the tree is happy.
Years later, the boy returns again. This time, he wants a house. He asks the tree for a house. The tree does not have a house, but he tells the boy to cut off her branches so he can build himself a house and be happy.
The tree is lonely, but if the boy is happy, the tree is happy.
Many years later, when the boy is an old man, he returns again. He wants a boat so that he can go far away. The tree doesn’t have a boat so she instructs the boy (old man) to cut down her trunk so he can build a boat and be happy.
Many years later, when the boy is very, very old, he returns to the tree again. This time, the tree has nothing left to give the boy. This time, the boy needs nothing but a place to rest. Now, the tree is only a stump, but she can offer the tired old boy a stump so he can rest. The two old friends rest together and the tree is happy.
But there is another theme to this story. In my opinion, the relationship between the boy and the tree represents a rather one-sided relationship. The tree offers everything to the boy, all the tree can give while the boy takes from the tree but gives nothing back. It isn’t until the very end of the story that the boy, now a very old man, appreciates the sacrifices the tree made for him during his lifetime. Some human relationships are like this. It gives readers something to think about.