The Giving Tree poem by Shel Silverstein will make you think about life.
The Giving Tree is an American children’s picture book by author Shel Silverstein published in 1964 by the publishing house Harper & Row. This book has been quite famous and become Silverstein’s best-known book and has been translated into multiple languages.
The book has created a lot of controversies when it was published and described as “one of the most divisive books in children’s literature”. The reason for the controversy was to understand the message it was conveying. Some took the relationship between the boy and tree positive where the tree gives unconditional love to the boy and others see it as negative where the boy and the tree have an abusive relationship.
Even though the giving tree conveys the message of generosity but most scholars debate that it is more than that. The Giving Tree tries to convey more than the message of unselfishness. Some say it’s the story of God and humankind and see it as the relationship of mother nature and society or a relationship between a parent and a child.
Different people have different beliefs related to The giving tree but I see it as a great source to learn about life and lessons.
The giving tree book by Shel Silverstein was banned in Colorado in the public library because it was considered that it conveys the message as being sexist where the boy continuously takes things from the female tree without giving anything in return.
The Giving Tree Story
The Story of the giving tree follows the life of a boy and a tree where they developed a relationship with each other. The nature of the tree is “giving” while the boy throughout all his stages in life is “taking”. Even though the boy in this story ages but he is still referred to as a boy.
The story started with the boys’ childhood where he loves to play with the tree, climb her trunk, swing from her branches, carve me + Tree and eat her apples. As the boy get older, his visits were limited, and only visited when he needs something from the giving tree.
The tree keeps giving herself to the boy to make him happy and fulfill his needs like money, a house, and a boat. After all of this giving at all stages of life, the tree was happy.
But at the final part of the poem, both the boy and the tree feel the pain of their taking and giving nature. The giving tree was not happy, at least at the moment because she is only left with a stump so she cant provide the boy when he returned to meet the tree as a tired elderly man.
She tells him that she is sad because she can’t give her apple or shade or the materials that she had provided in the past. He ignores all this because he is too old to eat the apples, swing the branches, and play. He just wants a quiet place to sit and rest which the tree can provide. So at this final stage of giving, the tree was happy.
Here we are sharing the giving tree full book poem by Shel Silverstein for you to understand the deep meaning hidden inside it.
The Giving Tree Book Full Poem By Shel Silverstein
Once there was a tree….
and she loved a little boy.
And everyday the boy would come
and he would gather her leaves
and make them into crowns
and play king of the forest.
He would climb up her trunk
and swing from her branches
and eat apples.
And they would play hide-and-go-seek.
And when he was tired,
he would sleep in her shade.
And the boy loved the tree….
And the tree was happy.
But time went by.
And the boy grew older.
And the tree was often alone.
Then one day the boy came to the tree
and the tree said, ‘Come, Boy, come and
climb up my trunk and swing from my
branches and eat apples and play in my
shade and be happy.’
‘I am too big to climb and play’ said
‘I want to buy things and have fun.
I want some money?’
‘I’m sorry,’ said the tree, ‘but I
have no money.
I have only leaves and apples.
Take my apples, Boy, and sell them in
the city. Then you will have money and
you will be happy.’
And so the boy climbed up the
tree and gathered her apples
and carried them away.
And the tree was happy.
But the boy stayed away for a long time….
and the tree was sad.
And then one day the boy came back
and the tree shook with joy
and she said, ‘Come, Boy, climb up my trunk
and swing from my branches and be happy.’
‘I am too busy to climb trees,’ said the boy.
‘I want a house to keep me warm,’ he said.
‘I want a wife and I want children,
and so I need a house.
Can you give me a house ?’
‘ I have no house,’ said the tree.
‘The forest is my house,
but you may cut off
my branches and build a
house. Then you will be happy.’
And so the boy cut off her branches
and carried them away
to build his house.
And the tree was happy.
But the boy stayed away for a long time.
And when he came back,
the tree was so happy
she could hardly speak.
‘Come, Boy,’ she whispered,
‘come and play.’
‘I am too old and sad to play,’
said the boy.
‘I want a boat that will
take me far away from here.
Can you give me a boat?’
‘Cut down my trunk
and make a boat,’ said the tree.
‘Then you can sail away…
and be happy.’
And so the boy cut down her trunk
and made a boat and sailed away.
And the tree was happy
… but not really.
And after a long time
the boy came back again.
‘I am sorry, Boy,’
said the tree,’ but I have nothing
left to give you –
My apples are gone.’
‘My teeth are too weak
for apples,’ said the boy.
‘My branches are gone,’
said the tree. ‘ You
cannot swing on them – ‘
‘I am too old to swing
on branches,’ said the boy.
‘My trunk is gone, ‘ said the tree.
‘You cannot climb – ‘
‘I am too tired to climb’ said the boy.
‘I am sorry,’ sighed the tree.
‘I wish that I could give you something….
but I have nothing left.
I am just an old stump.
I am sorry….’
‘I don’t need very much now,’ said the boy.
‘just a quiet place to sit and rest.
I am very tired.’
‘Well,’ said the tree, straightening
herself up as much as she could,
‘well, an old stump is good for sitting and resting
Come, Boy, sit down. Sit down and rest.’
And the boy did.
And the tree was happy. ― Shel Silverstein, The Giving Tree
Did you like The Giving Tree poem?
We hope you have enjoyed reading The Giving Tree poem, its story, and learning some meaningful lessons to apply them to your life.
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