The Giving Tree
Shel Silverstein, an extremely gifted and versatile author, wrote and illustrated "The Giving Tree". Readers of all ages have enjoyed this story since its publication in 1964. It portrays the gift of giving and to love and be loved in return. While "The Giving Tree" generated a lot of controversy upon its publication, having been a child and now being a mother, I see the tree representing a mother's unconditional and self sacrificing love for her children.
"Every day the boy would come to the tree to eat her apples, swing from her branches, or slide down her trunk... and the tree was happy." The tree was simply happy to spend time with and provide for the boy much similar to the feelings of a mother toward her child. In the beginning of the story there is an illustration of a little boy running excitedly toward a tree that appears to be reaching out for him. Then the story goes on to show the boy playing with her leaves, climbing her trunk, swinging from her branches, and eating her apples all with illustrations of the tree being actively involved. So a relationship similar to that of a mother and her child has been established. The tree is simply happy to have the boy around and the little boy has fun just being a little boy and embraces the trees love for him. "And the boy loved the tree..." with an illustration of the boy hugging the tree and tree using her branches to hug him in return. "...very much. And the tree was happy."
"But time went by. And the boy grew older. And the tree was often alone." As children grow up they begin to assert their independence, spending less time with family and more time away from home. Illustrated is a picture of the tree standing alone with two hearts carved into her. The first heart reads M.E. + T. and the second heart carved above the first reads M.E. + Y.L. which shows how the boy has grown from love for the tree to love for someone else, a person....