The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein

The Giving TreeThe Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein

My rating: 1 of 5 stars

Originally published September 9th, 2012
I usually adore Shel Silverstein. But from the first time I heard this story I hated it and found it deeply disturbing. Love isn’t parasitic, taking and taking and never giving back or thinking of others. Relationships where one party does nothing but give and the other party does nothing but take aren’t something to celebrate, they’re abusive and unhealthy. Glorifying them is at least as bad, especially when it’s aimed at children.

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2 thoughts on “The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein

  1. Mom

    Oooo! I love that you’re willing to take on established generalizations and give your own point of view.
    Have to admit I really didn’t like it when I read it either.

    On the other hand, could it be an examination of the different types of love, ie: childish love which only loves that which benefits it versus adult love which loves and does not stop loving in the face of non-response?

    Although, that said, in the end, does the child love the stump it has created? Is that why the stump is happy in the end? Or am I remembering the storyline incorrectly?


  2. Mom

    Your reply got me thinking more because “when one party destroys itself to make the other happy it gives me the unpleasant squishes” is exactly what I thought and felt on reading the book. But … was the tree “destroyed”? Nothing lives forever. And the tree actually produced a whole lot from fruit to housing during its life so maybe, in the end, its just fulfilled? It had spent its life doing the most that a tree could do and got the bonus of time with the boy at the end. I’m not sure I can see it that way, but thank you for starting the idea in my head!


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