The Giving Tree, Story and Illustration by Shel Silverstein
I remember reading along with certain children's books that became very near and dear to me as a young kid. Over the years, I revisit the story and it begins to take on a whole new meaning as my perspective shifts to a different character's point of view. The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein is a beloved children's story with a hidden message that continues to haunt me to this day.
If anyone is unfamiliar with the tale of the apple tree that had an inordinate, unconditional love for a little boy that it offered to sacrifice each part of itself from the apples, to the branches, to the trunk, to the stump, then it would behoove you to stop reading this article right now and waltz into any bookstore to read it in one go.
When I was three-years-old, I could relate closely with the child as I was relatively carefree and would spend many days resting under the shade of trees and imagining the experience of being able to swing from branches. As the years passed, I eventually left home when I needed to study for school and I could continue to empathize with the main character as he began asking the tree for assistance through apples and shelter (this translates to the need for room and board). I remember calling my mom one afternoon in tears saying, “I finally understand the message of ‘The Giving Tree’. The boy was in college and the tree is his MOTHER!” And suddenly, something clicked inside me. By the time I was twenty four years old, I began reading the story from the perspective of the tree and that was when I started to detest the little boy. I wanted to change the title of The Giving Tree to The Taking Boy. I envisioned adding a final chapter to the end of the book where the remains of the old man get buried close to the tree allowing the tree to receive nutrients, and it would be the moment when the boy finally paid the tree back for everything with his own body.
In my opinion, the true meaning behind The Giving Tree was no longer a story about unconditional love. It was a story about unhealthy giving and a boy who continued to take and take until he killed a tree. It was at this point in my life that I tried to distance myself from the boy's character and labeled over-generous people, similar to the tree, as enablers who did not know when to stop giving.
I love revisiting children's books as an adult because many of them contain messages that go over a young mind's head, but can still make sense to a grown-up.
SECRET SANTA 2015
Please sign-up for this year's Secret Santa. HippieVan is gathering participants for this year's drawing exchange. Sign-ups are due by December 1, 2015.
Do you have any original art to contribute to our stock image database, announcements, community projects, ideas, news, or milestones to report? Please leave general comments below or send a PQ to kawaiidaigakusei. Email me at kawaiidaigakusei(at)gmail(dot)com.
kawaiidaigakusei at 12:00AM, Nov. 23, 2015
©2011 WOWIO, Inc. All Rights Reserved Google+