Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Giving out

Apparently, today is the 50th anniversary of the publication of The Giving Tree, a book about which many people (including myself) have strong feelings. 

I will admit that my take on this much-beloved/much-loathed parable is maybe a little skewed by the fact that I first encountered it as a young adult, rather than as a child.

So... what's yours? Love it? Hate it? Ambivalent? Can't believe anyone gives it this much thought? Also: why?


Joe said...


I also read this as a youth. You could make the case that's a symbol of God's unconditional love for humanity, or a parent's similar relationship with their child. I guess that's the way I look at it. I don't like it when kids' books get over-analyzed; I saw in that Wikipedia entry that a Harvard professor called it "a catechism of exploitation."
Yikes. I suppose it's easy to look back on these things as an adult and find plenty of deeper meanings, but I like to think of it as a good lesson for kids about giving, love and generosity. Call me simplistic. But that's my take.

bzh said...

I think "catechism of exploitation" is a bit much. That said, I don't want my daughter to grow up believing that real friendship means you must be being willing to cut off all of your branches for someone else's benefit. In fact, I want her to believe that friendship means appreciating and understanding the importance of someone else's branches to his or her wholeness, and never asking for that kind of sacrifice.
That said, I love Joe, and would give him a branch or two if he needed it.

Joe said...

Oh, same here BZH. Thank you. And you're right. Friendship and related generosity should be reciprocal. Listen, if I ever need a branch, I'll rake up the leaves. Deal?