Indeed a reason to appreciate this masterpiece! It gives the readers a chance to interpret its simple story line in several ways and so far, the story can connote the following: Mother Nature’s care for humankind, a parent’s unconditional love to his or her child, an abusive relationship wherein a pedophile invites an innocent child to play and come along, a person who takes advantage of the love given by his or her partner, and a story between friends wherein a friend tends to provide everything to another friend without expecting anything in return (despite the fact that the other would tend to take advantage of the friendship by only coming due to need). It can also be interpreted as a Biblical representation where Jesus Christ sacrifices himself for the humankind and forgives the humans unconditionally all due to love and care. And since The Giving Tree can be about the environment-human relationship, it can be considered as a wake up call for humans to care for the environment as it never failed to provide them a home.
The story ends when the boy, now an old man, realizes the love the tree provided him and regrets what he did as the tree has no longer much to offer but her roots. This serves the readers as a moral lesson that one should realize the love given by their loved ones, which they should not take advantage of but rather should cherish and be given back.
Another reason to appreciate this short story is the emotional vibes it gives to the readers. I cannot help but feel sorry for the tree being used while at the same time, salute her for being brave enough for making sacrifices for the boy, even though she knows that he will not give them back. There are even times when I would get mad at the boy for his ignorance. What makes me have more empathy to the tree is that it bears my favorite fruit which are apples. And finally, I appreciate that the simple short masterpiece is about love, care, and sacrifice.
Definitely a must read for both children, children-at-heart and readers of any age looking for stories with morals and a emotional slice of touch. I may not be that familiar with Shel Silverstein, but reading The Giving Tree makes me look forward to reading more of his written stories.
Written and illustrated by Shel Silverstein
Published in 1964 at Harper & Row, USA
Genre Children’s Picture Book
The book is about a female apple tree who encounters a boy as he plays with her. The boy starts to exploit her as he grows and despite that, she still loves him with all her heart to the point she would give all her resources (apples, trunk, branches, root) as long as it satisfies the boy’s needs.
Overall rating 5/5 (10/10)