The Giving Tree- Shel Silverstein

The Giving tree is quite an interesting name for a book. The ambiguity and curiosity it arouses are outstanding. You just want to know why there is a tree and what it is giving out but most importantly, are these gifts free? The Giving tree has been hailed as one of the most impactful books of all time. Written and published more than 50 years ago by author Shel Silverstein, this book has transcended time and has impacted generations over. So, what is so unique about The Giving Tree and what story does it tell so nicely that it has become a reader’s favourite for years upon years?
The Story
A very simple story that provokes the deepest of human emotions in the most subtle of ways. The story begins with a boy climbing a tree (which is referred to as female throughout the book), swinging from its branches and eating its fruits. The tree is portrayed as being very glad to give the boy the fruits. The boy then goes his way and forgets about the tree until his adulthood. As a young man, he goes back to the tree and asks for money. The tree tells the boy that it cant give him money but can give him her fruits so that he can go sell them and make money. Later, the boy comes back asking for more money, the tree is quite happy to give him her branches and later her trunk. Sooner rather than later, there is nothing left of the tree rather than a stump, which the now old man sit on without a worry.
The Lesson
Well, going through this children’s book we can see quite a straightforward message that the writer was trying to bring home: sacrificial giving. Giving without expecting anything in return. One of the most overlooked but vital traits many of us have been missing from the beginning of time, till now. The co-author, Lauren Snyder, was quoted once saying that if you give a mother 10 copies of this book then be sure that she will understand exactly the kind of person she needs to be.
The Relevance
The book has remained relevant because of its subtle depiction of humanity and its traits; both those desired (the tree) and those undesired (the boy/man). That is why, with every new publication, the book sells off of bookshelves quite fast. It talks about things that we are afraid to address.
The divisiveness
This book has remained in the lips of people for 50 years and over because of one of its most core objectives: its divisiveness on opinions. This is the one book that even a simple google search places it on both the ” favourite” as well as ”least favourite” books ever written. Some people believe that it is a beautiful book showcasing that life is not always about what you get back. This portion of readers believes that giving is better than receiving. On the other hand, some people derive traits such as narcissism, sadism, selfishness, and codependence. Logically arguing, these readers bank on the premise of a boy who took advantage of a tree to take care of all his needs without ever reciprocating.
My Take
In my opinion, this indeed is one of the best books ever written. Depending on what you focus on, you can take away some of the best lessons a human being can ever get in the course of his lifetime. Focusing on all the negative energy in the book, which is very vital, takes away your focus on all the positivity. I mean, can you ever know good without understanding bad?