THE EVIL DOCTRINE OF “THE GIVING TREE”

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May 14. 2012

The Giving Tree is evil because this is its alleged model for human happiness. The truth is, this is the model for human hell.

Shel Silverstein, the author of children’s book who was part-beatnik, part-scary uncle, and part-lovable pedagogue, wrote some funny stuff. His poems and stories were often whimsical and warped, sometimes innocent and sometimes sardonic and mocking. But this enigmatic guy is responsible for one of the most loathsome and vile pieces of literature ever written in modern times, The Giving Tree.

Let me give you just a little context. The Giving Tree is absolutely loved by the educational community. Teachers swoon when they hear the words “The Giving Tree” uttered, as if some mystical power has transported them into a higher state of warm fuzziness. The book is read to children to illustrate high and noble things like motherhood and friendship. The real, and very dark philosophy at the roots of The Giving Tree, is one of utter nihilism; the sacrifice of oneself for another who lacks the capacity to reciprocate, and the subordination of self-interest  to a child’s self-absorbed and malcontent quest for sustenance through the destruction of the life of the one entity that loves him.

I really hate this book.

The heroine of this story was a lovely apple tree, sturdy with thick branches and heavy with fruit.  The little boy whom she loved climbed up her trunk, shook her branches, and played with her leaves when they fell to the ground. He ate her apples, all of them.  He would play in her shade, and in the beginning, he returned the value of her foliage, fruit, and shelter with his loyal company.

The boy went away, and one can only assume that he was indoctrinated by leftist philosophers like Camus and Sartre in Paris while sitting in a sidewalk cafe and marveling about his ability to alter reality with his thoughts.  He returned to the tree a little older, feeling entitled, because of his various needs, to the life and substance of the tree.

In a surly mood the boy stood at the foot of the tree and demanded money. The tree answered that she had no money to give him, but that he could take her apples, all of them, and sell them for money, all of which he could keep.  The tree supposed that if she pleased the boy by giving him something of value, that he would return the value with his company and love. And this made her very happy. Stupid tree.

The boy went away again, and one can only assume that he became a professor of Political Science at some leftist university where he spent his days marveling about his ability to alter the minds of young people through his manipulation of rhetoric.  He returned to the tree after a long time, embittered, angry, and feeling entitled to the the life and substance of the tree because, after all, he had needs, and he was a poly-sci professor at a prestigious university.

With his angry rhetoric he demanded that the tree give him a house. The tree answered that she had no house to give him, but that he could cut off her branches and use the wood to build a house for himself, his stringy feminista wife, and his depressed, drug-addled children.  The tree supposed that if she gave him something of value, that he would return the value with his company and love. This made the idiot freakin’ tree very happy. She obviously didn’t understand that the little boy had grown up to be an evil man.

So the bitter evil man went away again, for a very long time, and he came back an aging, black-hearted, leftist troll. One can only assume that he wrote books about despair, the meaninglessness of life, and the evil incantations of his career as a destroyer of the minds of young people.  Shriveled with self-loathing he stood at the foot of the limbless, fruitless, demoralized tree and demanded that she provide for him a boat so he could sail far away. One can only assume that his self-loathing drove him to seek refuge from the realization in his old age that he was an irredeemable monster. The tree answered that she had no boat to give him, but that he could cut down her trunk and make a boat for himself. The evil man cut down the trunk of his tree and made himself a boat. The tree, with no sense of self, no sense of pride, and nothing left of herself to proud of, tried to convince herself that her ethos of total sacrifice to the demands of a parasitic man had made her happy. One can only assume that the tree had a flicker of reasoning when she determined, for a brief moment, that she really was not happy at all.

The embittered old man went away in his boat to Perdition. One can only assume that while on the cruise to escape his self-loathing, that he  marveled how his life had been cheated by those who loved him, and how the tree was the source of his unhappiness because, despite the fact that she stupidly sacrificed her very existence for his comfort and pleasure  from the time he was a boy,  it simply was not enough. He returned after a very long time, shrunken, toothless, and dejected.  He asked feebly for a place to sit, and the tree; nothing more than a sterile stump, its life used by a man who gave no value for its value, its substance exploited in servitude to his claims, its very existence sacrificed to his needs, acquiesced to this last demand.  And guess what, the freakin’ enabler, victimized, pathetic tree was very happy.

I really, really hate this book.

The Giving Tree perpetuates two great evils: This first evil is the brazen little boy who lays claim on the very life and substance of an entity that loves him. He demands that the tree give everything to him. He produces nothing for himself, but takes the property of the tree for his own. He does not reciprocate and he cannot love. But because the tree enables his mooching lifestyle, and feels guilt at the very thought of him going without, she delivers all she has into his hands to be squandered.

The second, and greater evil, is the tree itself. The tree, a marvel of creation with differentiated cells and structures that perform the miraculous process of turning sunlight into food, with her strong limbs, pretty leaves, and fruit, perfect in both form and composition, disregards herself as a thing of value. She submits her past, present, and future potential to the demands of an indolent man-boy.  She allows her substance to be abused, ignoring the fact that her ability to produce shade, leaves, and fruit, and her own achievement  is sacrificed and utterly wasted by an exploiter who will likely do the same to every other tree he meets.

The Giving Tree is evil because this is its alleged model for human happiness. The truth is, this is the model for human hell.

I really, really, really hate this book. And if you love your children, take this book, dig a deep hole in the back yard, place the book at the bottom of the hole, and plant an apple tree on top of it.

 By Marjorie Haun  5/14/12

 

 

 

 




3 Comments to “THE EVIL DOCTRINE OF “THE GIVING TREE””

  1. By Better Failling, June 3, 2012 @ 12:59 pm

    I haven’t read the book and actually I haven’t heard of it since somebody who hates it at least as much as you do pointed it to me.
    I’m not going to read it either.
    Not because you convinced me to hate it. No, on the contrary. But you summarized it so well that I understood enough of what he has to say so that I can fully agree with him.
    What’s interesting is that my conclusion is not that different from yours:
    The main culprit is is the tree. For indulging the boy without being able to teach him the basics – you shouldn’t bite the hand that feeds you.
    But there is a second, and deeper, meaning here. The tree took really good care of the boy, so good actually that he was able to walk the whole road to OUR understanding that the future is being built, continuously, by us.
    So if you really love your children read this book with them and make certain that they understand it.
    For the record I don’t like most of the lefties, either. Not necessarily for what they say but mostly for their conviction that they ‘know better’ and for their willingness to impose their ideas on the rest of the world, regardless of what the rest of us has to say.

    • By ReaganGirl, June 3, 2012 @ 2:50 pm

      The problem is that the tree sacrifices itself when there is no value returned. An entire mental health industry exists in large part because people buy into the lie that it’s moral to give everything you have even when there is no reciprocation. This is particularly sinister when it is applied in a social ethos, where love is taken for granted, respect does not have to be earned, and a living can be made off the minds and muscles of others. I really hate this philosophy.

  2. By Better Failling, June 3, 2012 @ 12:59 pm

    I haven’t read the book and actually I haven’t heard of it since somebody who hates it at least as much as you do pointed it to me.
    I’m not going to read it either.
    Not because you convinced me to hate it. No, on the contrary. But you summarized it so well that I understood enough of what he has to say so that I can fully agree with him.
    What’s interesting is that my conclusion is not that different from yours:
    The main culprit is is the tree. For indulging the boy without being able to teach him the basics – you shouldn’t bite the hand that feeds you.
    But there is a second, and deeper, meaning here. The tree took really good care of the boy, so good actually that he was able to walk the whole road to OUR understanding that the future is being built, continuously, by us.
    So if you really love your children read this book with them and make certain that they understand it.
    For the record I don’t like most of the lefties, either. Not necessarily for what they say but mostly for their conviction that they ‘know better’ and for their willingness to impose their ideas on the rest of the world, regardless of what the rest of us has to say.

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