The Giving Tree The Giving Tree question

What was the moral you got from "The Giving Tree"?
Marc Marc Aug 26, 2013 11:34AM
To me the moral of the story was that someone will always be there for you even though you feel like you're alone. The tree was the one to always be there for the little boy and gave everything it had.

I think that the moral of the story is that the boy/man who took and took and took his entire life was never satisfied, but the tree who gave everything she had was happy in the end.

The Earth still loves us, even when we kill it with our greed.
It's better to give than to receive.
Happiness demands sacrifice for those we love.
Altruism is the righteous path to salvation.
Even a dead stump has a purpose.
Trees are very useful.

Korin (last edited Aug 28, 2013 02:03PM ) Aug 28, 2013 11:08AM   5 votes
I got two....

1. This is what unconditional motherly love looks like (awww!)

2. This is also what a toxic co-dependent relationship looks like. (yikes!)

it's all in the perspective I guess.

Joc And you are in fact right. Nobody should love unconditionally, as it is ultimately immoral even if it sounds good. I explained this in much more detai ...more
Dec 11, 2021 06:23AM · flag

Trees are great! People, not so much.

F 25x33
Aimee 100%
May 01, 2021 10:37AM · flag

I never liked it, not as a kid, not now. Ungrateful kid, martyred tree. I like lots of his other stuff.

Jane (last edited Jan 22, 2015 06:01PM ) Jan 22, 2015 05:59PM   2 votes
Give all that you can afford, take only what you need.

The tree gave more than it could afford, the boy took more than he needed. Both based their insensible actions on love, and both suffered the consequences of their poor choices.

Many like to view the tree as representative of parents; unconditional love, martyrish devotion, loyal. The Giving Tree does not glorify the "parent" tree, but instead illustrates the fault in giving to the point of crippling the boy and rendering itself useless. As a child, the boy cannot be blamed for his greed. But as a older boy and man, he is clearly stunted and selfish, for which he is to blame. In the end the loving relationship is sacrificed by the actions claimed to be made out of love.

It's a familiar story.

Give all that you can afford, take only what you need.

Unconditional love exists.

Give and give and give, until it actually removes everything unique and special about you, then give again until you are dead. That is the moral I got out of this book. Oh, and never be appreciated for any of your giving ways. And it will not be reciprocated, not one teeny drop. Just more take take take from the object of your affection. And your giving will be looked upon by sentimental readers as "love" or motherhood, or some kind of nobel sacrifice.

I cannot believe that one reviewer said "even a stump can be useful." Well, yeah, but a stump is first and foremost a DEAD tree. No one wants to be dead as a result of the rigors of love or from the demands of parenting (whether literally dead, or symbolically having a deceased self-identity or dead soul because the other's constant selfish taking just slayed you).

This book makes me think of the sexist notion that women should anihilate their own identities in order to "sacrifice" for their children. It really is dreadful. I wish no children ever were exposed to it. I knew it when I was six years old, when I read this and found it extremely depressing, and I know it even more now.

Patty and Linda, I agree. It's a societal problem now. Hated this book, but loved Shel Silverstein's poems.

For better or worse, you have to work with what life brings you. Hope you're not a tree.

Worst book ever. Selfish child sucking life out of the parent..parent giving and giving but never enough...until nothing is left. Ugh!! Lesson here is gimme gimme! I know I am in the minority, but this was my reaction the first time I read this book. And my opinion has not changed...:) and I generally really like Shel Silverstein...but this..not so much.

The tree represented a loving parent that willing to give to her child no matter what

put down the seat for ladies when you're done.

I am so glad to see that other people see the book as I do! I see selfishness and greed from the boy. The tree wants love and gives totally of himself to someone who only takes and takes and takes.

I guess it would be what a friend should be and to what extent it can go

True kindness expects nothing in return.

Sometimes you can get as much out of giving as you do taking. The boy is used to always taking and never giving anything to the tree and he is unhappy. The tree is always giving, and that is what makes her happy.

most people take kindness for granted
but they are ones who will regret more

To me the moral of this books is about giving. In life some people will give and some will take. If you give freely then you can be happy in your gift, even if the last gift is your life.

True friends give mutually.

No moral for me - just a reminder that life is finite, make of it what you will....

This book was about a tree who was happy when the boy was in his presence. As long as the boy was in his presence , even if he was taking from him, the tree was happy. In the end, the boy ended up giving back to the tree by sitting and resting on him, in his presence.
The moral is, the best thing you can offer and give to a loved one is your time.

Unconditional love.

We never recognize the people who love us most. We tend to take them for granted.

I think is a metaphor of the parent/child relationship. That being a parent is always giving. Even when you should have stop your are always giving of your self and you should expect nothing in return. I do not think this accurately reflects all parent/child relationships, but when you continue to take without giving in return you most likely end up unhappy.

Don't abuse the kindness given to you

Dramapuppy (last edited Aug 25, 2014 03:36PM ) Jun 26, 2014 07:58AM   0 votes
I kind of hate this book. I believe it represents parent and child. The child loved the tree who supported him and was always around the tree when he was young. When he grew up he only talked to it when he needed a favor.

However, I feel the whole thing was kind of offense to children, assuming that they will never talk to their parents to just talk. Teacher would always read it aloud in school and children love it. I just find that kind of creepy.

Here's the missing last page of The Giving Tree:

my link text

life is sorrow


A great lesson in why not to give blindly, and not love a person who is bad for you. Great discussion with my kids about it. They learned what manipulation can look like.

Don't be a chump.

My aunts were just talking about this book. They had always loved it but now were thinking that no one should be that into someone else. I think they are on to something. I always loved it as a child, but I bet very few readers identify with the tree but find it comforting from the kid's POV.

Relationships may kill you, but if they do, your death is not for nothing.

Most people don't know what they need in order to become happy. You may help them if you do. (The tree tried but it took a while before the boy listened. A while too long, maybe.)

Bad things happen. Find a way to go on, anyway.

If you start something, be sure you either stop before you will be sorry, or don't stop at all.

I love all the different ways to interpret this book. I think there are many valuable points. Yes you can look at this as an abusive relationship with a "child" that always takes and a "parent" who always gives, however throughout our lives we will often be the giver because it was our choice to do so. Many will also go through selfish periods during our life and then eventually we realize the value of simply spending time with our family. This is beautifully represented at the end of the book when the boy just simply wants to rest with the tree. I hope that if someone doesn't wholeheartedly want to give everything they have to a loved one then they should just say no!

It was read to me in 4th grade. My thought was "I don't want to be either of these characters."

I thought it was a great book and everyone should read it.

If we give happiness to others, we will end up happy.

The Giving Tree has a really great moral to the story. This story is sad, touching, and kind of get's you thinking about what you are grateful for, and if I ever ask for to much. The length of the book is perfect, the layout on how the sentences are broken down keeps you engaged. I would recommend this book to parents to read to children when they want to imply this moral to their kids. I loved the book!

I hate this book!!! IT IS SO SAD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Em (last edited Jul 30, 2014 12:12PM ) Jul 30, 2014 12:11PM   0 votes
In a cynical way, I think it's about the greed of man. I know that most people want to interpret it as true parental love, but honestly, I think that the boy was too deluded and selfish to realize that he had a wonderful life right there with the tree.

I think it says something about how people take advantage of the kind, but I wouldn't go quite that far. I can see that the Giving Tree really is a good, maternal character, but her boy moves away and becomes more distant and wanting. He has some subconscious attachment to the tree, so he assumes that he can get all of his help from her. But I haven't studied psychology (yet) so I can't honestly say that that's quite it.

Still, it's a very sad story. I feel sorry for the tree. That kid was going to run himself into the ground anyway, with or without the help of a loving mother-figure.

This book, I conclude, makes me angry and sad at the same time.

Lividly furious.

Very, very sad.

Don't just be a "taker" ! Be both a "giver" and a "taker"!

selfless love

Korin and Sltartt - you both have my vote. When I first read this (while in college) I thought it was unconditional - "I would die for you" - love. My perspective has changed with time.

I read it as a child and realized I was too much like the boy and should be more like the tree or at least be more grateful for all the wonderful and useful things I had because of other people and the earth.

I don't know how anyone could read it and be like "ya I'll be like the boy and just take take take" or "I'll be like the tree and give to selfish people until it kills me" Kids aren't that dumb.

It's a great book and the first one that I remember that made me feel a strong feeling of empathy and keen awareness of a need to improve myself.

The moral I took from it is that when you love someone you're willing to sacrifice for them.

not being selfish and not always wanting more

Sad story.The tree was giving and giving and the kid was so ungrateful!The worst is that the kid turned to the tree only when he needed things and that's what makes me sad.It teaches us altruism in contrast with the cynical world we live in.

I have always thought this was a terrible story. Korin talked about it being the form for a toxic co-dependent relationship and that sums up this story perfectly.

I kept waiting for the kid to "get it and he never did. Hated this from the moment I finished it and I won't ever read it again. AND I certainly have never exposed my own kid to it. Can't say enough bad things about The Giving Tree...

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