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Analysis of The Giving Tree

Page history last edited by PBworks 7 years, 8 months ago

 

A Boy and a Tree

 

 

The Giving Tree is a story about the relationship between a boy and a tree.  When the boy was young he and the tree became really good friends.  The tree is sort of like a provider for the boy and always gives him what he needs, such as vines to swing from, shade to sit in, apples to eat, branches to build a house, a trunk to build a boat and a stump to sit on.  As the boy got older the tree gave more, as the boy wanted more from her and because the tree loves the boy a lot she gives him everything she can to make him happy. 

When glanced at, you would think The Giving Tree is just another narrative poem meant to be read to a child before they go to bed.  The figurative language that Shel Silverstein used in, The Giving Tree, included refrain, personification, and it was a narrative poem.  The Giving Tree had many different meanings, but there was the one that kids’ moms are willing to self-sacrifice for them and they take it for granted.  The poem, The Giving Tree, could be used as preparation for the future, by telling kids around the world how much their moms do for them on a daily basis and how much it means for them to get a “thank you” every once and a while.

On the surface, this poem just resembles another story, simply meant to be read to children by their parents before they go to bed, but there are more meanings to this poem/story.  One meaning I took away from The Giving Tree is selfish love in the long run will hurt the lover which in this case was the boy and also that unselfish love will hurt the lover in the long run which in this story was the tree.  Another meaning that can be taken from The Giving Tree is the portrayal of a mother and a son.

The first thing within this poem was selfish and unselfish love.  The boy showed selfish love and the tree showed unselfish love.  A meaning that could be taken from these things was the fact that in the long run both of these will hurt the people who show them (selfish and unselfish love).  During the course of the story, the boy showed selfish love by doing things such as, taking the tree’s apples to make money, taking the tree’s branches to build a house, and taking the trunk to build a boat.  This hurt the boy because he took away his only friend in life and became unhappy because he always needed more than he could get and/or provide on his own, which caused him to take more from the tree he “loved”.

The tree in The Giving Tree showed unselfish love towards the boy whenever he came and asked for more from the tree.  This hurt the tree in the long run because the boy just kept coming and taking more and more and the tree loved the boy so selflessly that she gave him everything she could to make him happy.  Although after she gave away her trunk she was happy, but not really.  So in the end of the story, the tree had given so much to the boy, that she had nothing left to give and she was left with nothing but a trunk.

There was also a slight metaphor about a mom and her child within the poem.  In The Giving Tree, the tree (the mom) was willing to give anything to the boy (the son).  The tree made self-sacrifices in order to help and make the boy happy, which any mom in general would do for her son.  Moms make so many self-sacrifices to make their kids happy, and the kids just take them and run with them and never think about how much it cost their mom.  The speaker in this poem is not directly told, but I think the speaker is either the writer, Shel Silverstein, or anyone who saw this happen in the story and is now retelling it.  The speaker of The Giving Tree, really, is the choice of the reader.

All in all, this poem is about happiness, sadness and love.  The Giving Tree shows happiness in two ways.  The ways in which happiness is portrayed, is when the tree would give the boy something.  When this happened the tree was happy because she got to help the boy and the boy was happy for the time being because he got what he wanted or needed.  The Giving Tree also shows sadness in two ways.  The first time we see sadness is when the boy doesn’t come around the tree for a long time, the tree gets sad and also after the tree gave away her trunk.  This selection also shows love.  In the entire poem, the tree loves the boy a lot and the boy loves the tree.  In fact the tree loves the boy so much that she is willing to be self-sacrificing in order to make the boy happy, by giving him what he wants.

This poem does not use a lot of figurative language.  In this poem, Shel Silverstein used refrain and personification and wrote it as a narrative poem.  The refrain that Silverstein used in The Giving Tree was when the tree said, “Come, Boy, come and climb up my trunk and swing from my branches.” (Lines 17-18, 31-32)  Another use of refrain was the line “And the tree was happy”. (Lines 12, 28, 42, 52, and 62) Silverstein probably used the line, “And the tree was happy,” to emphasize a point.  He was likely pushing a point that a person that gives is happier than a person who is always taking, because the person who always takes always needs more.

Silverstein also use personification in his poem, The Giving Tree.  The personification he used was when he gave the tree human qualities.  The qualities that Silverstein gave the tree are the tree can talk, can give the boy things, it has emotions and the major thing that showed personification was the fact that Silverstein called the tree “her”.  This gave the tree a gender.

Another use of figurative language used in The Giving Tree, is narrative poetry.  This poem is a narrative poem because it is telling a story.  Shel Silverstein uses this to tell the story of the little boy who grew up loving and being loved by a tree.  This is a good use of narrative poetry.

This poem had many different meanings, but there was one that really stuck out to me.  The meaning I took from The Giving Tree was the fact that moms, in general, are willing to give almost everything for their kids, in which usually leads to self-sacrificing and they do it in the knowledge that their kids will take it for granted.  Moms would go out of their way to make their kids happy because they love them so much and they would continue to do this even when their kids don’t thank them.  I think moms do it anyway because they know that as their kids get older, they will start to realize everything that their moms did for them over the course of their lives and then see everything their mom does for them on a daily basis and start to be thankful for it.

I know out of experience that I never thanked my mom for anything she did for me in the past and I never thought twice about how much it cost her.  I was always taking the things my mom did for me for granted.  Now as I grow up, I have been starting to realize more and more everyday how much the things my mom does for me cost her, in the sense of self-sacrifice.  Yes, I still take things for granted, but I do thank my mom much more than I use to and now I even help a lot more.

The poem, The Giving Tree, could be used as preparation for the future, by getting the message of how much moms do for their kids out to kids in the world.  This way they do take things for granted like before and they learn to be more thankful.  In fact I believe that this poem, The Giving Tree, should be read to kids in every school, everywhere, every-so-often.  After the story has been read to the kids, they need to be told the meaning of how their moms sacrifice a lot of things for them, and that they need to be more thankful, kind and loving to their moms.  In turn, I believe this would make moms happier all over the place because their kids would learn to respect them, love them, and be more thankful for the things they do.

When anyone reads this poem they are oftentimes reading it just for leisure and will never see any deeper meaning(s).  As Shel Silverstein wrote this poem, he was probably intending for people to see both sides of the story and understand that they likely have been on both sides at one point or another in their lives.  The figurative language that Shel Silverstein used in, The Giving Tree, included refrain, personification, and it was a narrative poem, and although he did not use a lot of figurative language it was still effective.  The Giving Tree had many different meanings, but the one that got me was the one that kids’ moms are willing to self-sacrifice for them and they take it for granted.  The poem, The Giving Tree, could be used as “equipment for living”, by getting the message to kids around the world how much their moms do for them on a daily basis and how important it is for the kids to be grateful for everything their mom does for them.

 

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