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The Giving Tree

Essay by   •  July 13, 2019  •  Book/Movie Report  •  2,396 Words (10 Pages)  •  562 Views

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The Giving Tree

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ANALYSIS

“The Giving Tree” – Analysis 

Submitted To:

Dr. Sylvan Puckerin

On:

July 18th, 2017

By Members:

Marina Thompson

Trevor Graham

Esther King

Debra Marshall

Paula Forde

Table of Contents

  1. Introduction……………………………………………………………….…4
  1. What Is The Intent Of The Author In Conveying This Story?......................5
  1. At What Point Does Giving Hurts?...............................................................6
  1. What determines good and bad giving?.........................................................7
  1. What is sacrificial giving?..............................................................................8
  1. Do we give to get…and, is this wrong? How? Why?....................................9
  1. How has this book affected you individually?...............................................10-12
  1. Conclusion………………………...…………………………………………13


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“The Giving Tree”

Introduction

"The Giving Tree" is such a simple story which has had a profound effect on each member of this group.  It is not what was said in the story but rather what was not said that we interpreted on the basis of each individual's experience with giving.

For the purpose of this research we sought to analyse this book by answering six questions, the first five questions were answered by different individuals and the sixth question by all individually.

The questions we sought to answer are:

1.  What is the intent of the Author in conveying this story?

2. At what point does giving hurt?

3. What determines good or bad giving?

4. What is sacrificial giving?

5. Do we give to get .... and, is that wrong? How? Why?

6. How has this book affected you individually?

Did we get the answers to the questions right, did we explore the relevant areas of giving, we believe that we did based on our frames of reference. An individual's viewpoint is shaped by their world, we therefore give you our group's perspective on "The Giving Tree”.

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What is the intent of the author in conveying this story?

I believe the giving tree is about selfishness versus selflessness, this is demonstrated via the sacrificial giving versus the selfish taking that is seen in the story. People can be placed into two categories the givers or the takers, in terms of whether they are willing to contribute to or take from life's experiences.

The tree in this instance is the giver and the little boy is the taker, that is, after he reached a certain age. At every stage of their friendship, the little boy and eventually the grown man took everything the tree had to offer.

In the beginning, what was offered was not sacrificial but to the mutual benefit of both the tree and the boy. But at some point, as the relationship grew the boy offered nothing in return, but took all that met his current need, with little regard for the impact on the tree. That is true about some of the people that we interact with, totally selfish, with little regard for the feelings or needs of others.

Alternately there are some people that will give until it hurts and then give some more. The tree embodies that. The act of giving is usually selfless and sometimes we are called upon to give until we can't give anymore. The question we have to ask ourselves is, "At what point do we stop giving?"

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At what point does giving hurt?

According to the text the writer is speaking to the way in which the tree was constantly giving but was never happy after the boy left. It shows that giving does not always bring happiness, especially when those on the receiving end do not understand the reason behind the giving.

In my opinion, the tree loved the boy to such an extent that it would give its last, even to its own detriment so that it could see him happy. This reminds me of some parents, who constantly neglect themselves, and give to their children to make them happy. Unless these children understand the sacrifice or the reasons for such actions they will take them for granted. Therefore there is no gratitude for the parents.

In the text, both the boy and the tree grow old, they spent time together and the tree was happy. This happens only after it had given its trunk and had nothing more to offer. This shows the importance of balance in relationships, and the necessity of giving from both entities involved, because if one person constantly gives then that person will always be dissatisfied and that is the point where giving hurts.        

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What determines good and bad giving? 

The act of giving is neither good nor bad but the motive behind it can be.

Teleological theories postulate “if the good outweighs the bad then the action is right but if the bad outweighs good then it is wrong.” (p20) The tree gave to the boy unconditionally without any thought to the long term effect on her wellbeing.

To Illustrate: initially there was mutualism between the boy and tree as the latter provided a place for the former and in return was given companionship. However, as the boy transitioned from childhood to old age his wants and needs became different.  As the relationship progressed the tree eventually lost most of “herself” in trying to keep the boy’s “wants” satisfied “but was not happy” until he, now an old man returned to sit on the stump thus the tree in her squalor “was happy” again. In contrast, the man seems selfish and sees the tree for only its benefits and shows no remorse for abusing her.

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