There’s a children’s book out there, The Giving Tree, that I’ve no idea what it’s trying to say. Yep. Missing the message completely. Or, if I’m getting the message, and I truly hope I am not, I’m mentally running away and screaming. Well…maybe that’s a bit too dramatic. This story really creeps me out, though. It’s no Little Prince, that’s for sure.
Heard of the book? Read the book? What do you think the message is?
Here’s my interpretation–
There’s this beautiful apple tree. There’s this little kid. The tree loves the little kid. The little kid uses the tree for his pleasure. “Let me swing on your branches and climb,” says the kid. “Sure,” says the tree. Many years pass. “Let me sell your apples and make lots of money,” says the kid. “Sure,” says the tree. Many more years pass.“Let me cut you down and build a house and a boat,” says the kid. “Sure,” says the tree. Even more years pass. “What else can you give me?” asks the kid. “I’m nothing but a stump,” says the tree. “I’ve nothing more to give. But, you can sit your ungrateful ass on me if you’d like. You’re an old fart now. Probably incontinent, probably pee all over my decaying stump, but what the heck? I’m a giving tree. Piss away.”
Am I missing something here? What IS the message? What’s it teaching our children? Give until you’ve nothing left to give? Really? Isn’t that somewhat self-defeating?
Wait. No. That’s not it.
A child hearing the book would identify with the kid, right? Oh. Yay. That means the message is to feel entitled, ungrateful and abusive. To take and take and take and take and take. Maybe the book should be retitled “The Taking Kid.”
This whole issue bums me out. Probably because, I’ve felt like that poor old tree at different times in my life. The tree needed to learn to say “no.” Grow some tree balls.
I did my famous Wikipedia Scamper to see what’s going on over there about The Giving Tree. My synopsis isn’t quite as thorough as theirs, but the same issues are involved. Honestly, Shel. What happened to you that you’d write such a sad story? The only good I personally get from the book is it reminds me to say “No” unless I want to become an old, decaying stump with nothing left to give. So, I suppose I should thank you for that. Maybe that’s the message…say No because people will take and take and take until you’ve nothing left to give. Even people who claim to love you.
Now isn’t that a cheery thought?
Let’s change the subject, shall we?
Mr. Al and I added some more items to our fleet of ships. Besides the canoe (my fave) and the tiny motor boat, we’ve got a fishing tube-thing and an inflatable kayak. The kayak was the newest addition and is mine and was only $100.00 on Amazon.
Confession: I love to fish, but I feel so sorry for the fish when I catch them that I’d rather paddle around and play while Mr. Al does all the catching.
We took the new additions out the other evening. It happened to be one of the only days it rained this summer. Mr. Al caught lots of fish and I had lots of fun paddling around. Loved it in fact. Looking forward to next time.
Still haven’t managed the Art of the Graceful Kayak Exit. Let’s just say I was happy the rain had chased people away and it was just Mr. Al and Moi.
Next week, is Sasquan, the World Science Fiction Convention held in Spokane, WA this year. Don’t you love it that they’re calling it “Sasquan?” Mr. Al and I are heading over there for some reconnaissance. He’s making his awesome, whimsical Light Music lamps. I’m writing SciFi adventure love stories. Could be a venue for us to explore.
SPEAKING OF WHICH… Episode Two of The Entean Saga, Brightness Calling is out next month! Am finishing up the edits and then off to the proofreader’s it goes. Then I’ll get back to writing Episode Three for next spring. Its working title is Chaos Driven.
I leave you with pics from our kayak and fishing adventure. Have a great week peeps!
6 thoughts on “The Giving Tree”
I always loved the giving tree. To me the tree is Mother Earth. It’s like a story of reflection on all the stages of our life. Giving thanks to be part of the earth. It is Sad, like the song “Thats the way” by Zeplin, “everything is made to die.”
The earth gives and gives to us so we Can experience. Everything we choose is meant for us. Its saying its ok. Mother earth still loves us. When everything we have searched for has gone away (weather we have tried to destroy it or not) the love is still there. The love that allowed us to be here at all. When we don’t know what to do we always have source. I’m sure is more grateful for that than all of the things he steamed himself because without it there never was a tail.
That’s a beautiful message. I just wonder if the Boy-now-old man ever got the message. It hurts me to see what people do when things are offered so generously.
all the things he dreamed. We will have regret and remorse and we do need to see our consequences but I think by stretching its stump out its going to be a Mother and love no matter. …. Thanks Cammy aI love thinking about that stuff and your perspective cracks me up! 🙂 Love seeing all your adventures too. Your story is beautiful!
I appreciate your words, Rebecca. I know you love nature like I do, so perhaps that’s what counts…we see what’s being given and are grateful.
I’ve been mad at Shel Silverstein for decades!!! However, to his credit, and Julia’s (my daughter, for posters who don’t know me), she got the point immediately: don’t treat the things nature gives you carelessly, or you’ll wind up with nothing. Which is very nice, but I’m still mad. Dang book makes me cry every time.
Cammy, I’m with you, I HATE that book.